Life & Style – The Nation Online http://mwnation.com Top Malawi Breaking News Headlines Fri, 17 Nov 2017 17:12:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9 Female engineers want more girls in their field http://mwnation.com/female-engineers-want-girls-field/ http://mwnation.com/female-engineers-want-girls-field/#respond Fri, 17 Nov 2017 14:43:56 +0000 http://mwnation.com/?p=222491 In a drive to coax more girls into engineering, Women in Engineering (WomEng) plans to date girls in various secondary schools. Chairperson for the women’s chapter of the Malawi Institute of Engineers Susan Mponda said the initiative is meant to scrap-off negative perceptions girls have towards engineering as a course. Mponda spoke recently at St.…

The post Female engineers want more girls in their field appeared first on The Nation Online.

]]>
In a drive to coax more girls into engineering, Women in Engineering (WomEng) plans to date girls in various secondary schools.

Chairperson for the women’s chapter of the Malawi Institute of Engineers Susan Mponda said the initiative is meant to scrap-off negative perceptions girls have towards engineering as a course.

Mponda spoke recently at St. Michael’s Girls Secondary School in Mangochi when WomEng visited the school to motivate Form Four girls about joining the engineering profession.

“In this contemporary world, pursuing engineering course by girls is a must. Hence, we are in a drive to preach to our girls in secondary schools nationwide to do more on subjects that can see them pursuing the engineering course,” explained Mponda, an alumnus of the school.

She demystified fears associated with engineering- that the profession was for men; challenging that, even women can do better than their male counterparts.

“Gone are the days when courses that demand numerical aspects such as engineering were left for men only, but we have to face the reality that no career can be left for one group of people only,” challenged Mponda.

She added: “We want to open up young girls’ minds towards sciences because the world is changing and engineering provides solutions to the country’s problems such as water and electricity.”

Mponda also observed that engineering was not only marketable, but gives one a chance for self-employment.

St. Michael’s deputy head teacher Martin Mkoko commended WomEng for sparing time to inspire girls at the institution, saying this would instill a hardworking culture among students.

One of the girls, Vanessa Makina said the motivational talk came at a right time while they still have time to prepare their studies. n

The post Female engineers want more girls in their field appeared first on The Nation Online.

]]>
http://mwnation.com/female-engineers-want-girls-field/feed/ 0
From hopelessness towards a brighter future http://mwnation.com/hopelessness-towards-brighter-future/ http://mwnation.com/hopelessness-towards-brighter-future/#respond Fri, 17 Nov 2017 14:39:06 +0000 http://mwnation.com/?p=222490 Living with a total stranger who was kind enough to take her in, Fatsireni Wyson feels lucky to be in school, believing it is the only key to unlock her dream of becoming a doctor or an accountant. At 18 and in Form Three at Zingwangwa Secondary School, she is one of the beneficiaries of…

The post From hopelessness towards a brighter future appeared first on The Nation Online.

]]>
Living with a total stranger who was kind enough to take her in, Fatsireni Wyson feels lucky to be in school, believing it is the only key to unlock her dream of becoming a doctor or an accountant.

At 18 and in Form Three at Zingwangwa Secondary School, she is one of the beneficiaries of an international organisation-Against All Odds Still Standing (AOS)- and she appreciates the school fees, uniform, writing materials, soap and other things.

Some of the beneficiaries at Zingwangwa Secondary pose with Jackson (4L) and Kungala (5L)

“My mother lives in the village in Thyolo and would never afford to pay my fees and all the other school necessities. I live in Zingwangwa Township with a total stranger, but my dream is to be the one girl in my family that gets educated. All the girls in my family left school, but I will work hard and complete my studies,” said Fatsireni in a telephone interview on Wednesday.

She is just one of the many girls and women benefiting from AOS.

Zingwangwa Secondary School head teacher Steve Kungala, who has been working with AOS for four years now, says they have a number of projects.

“AOS pays school fees for needy students, provides school uniforms, sanitary pads and other items just to ensure that they stay in school. They also provide mountain bikes for those that would otherwise walk long distances to get to school. A lot of students have benefited,” he said.

AOS is an international organisation empowering women and girls affected by gender based violence (GBV) and those who have experienced early marriages.

They are also working with the child marriage terminator, Chief Tereza Kachindamoto.

“We met our first 10 students in Dedza where we hope to build Against All Odds Secondary School. We have been given land in Ntcheu where we plan to build our women and girls empowerment centre.

“We aim at rebuilding lives, restoring hope and dignity. We do this by providing education to the women and girls, social development and health solutions” said Fikelephi Jackson, the founder of the organisation.

With presence in the south, central and northern regions, the organisation works with 20 women in Bereu, Chikwawa; 25 in Ntcheu and 15 others in Lilongwe. They are also working with female students at Chisu Secondary School in Nkhatabay, Bwabwali Secondary School in Chikwawa, Namikasi and Zingwangwa secondary schools in Blantyre.

“Over 500 hundred women and girls have been reached by the organisation in the past five years. We have been well received by the chiefs, head teachers and students in schools, heads of communities and by the Government of Malawi. We treasure the support of warmth we have received,” said Jackson.

She added: “We take it as a privilege to serve these wonderful people in Malawi. Statistics show Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world, but AOS believes different. We say Malawi is the warm heart of Africa and is, yet, to take her place in the market place once the people realise how great they are. We also believe that as Africans in the diaspora, we should unite to make Africa a better place where our children at 10 years should be in school not on the street selling their body or being married.” n

The post From hopelessness towards a brighter future appeared first on The Nation Online.

]]>
http://mwnation.com/hopelessness-towards-brighter-future/feed/ 0
Mary Kachale: The second female DPP http://mwnation.com/mary-kachale-second-female-dpp/ http://mwnation.com/mary-kachale-second-female-dpp/#respond Sun, 12 Nov 2017 03:45:25 +0000 http://mwnation.com/?p=221848 Coming from a family where she was the only girl with three brothers, Mary Kachale says her brothers always treated her as an equal, often challenging her to be more than ordinary. For that reason, she never felt she was any less than a boy or a man, which encouraged her not shy away from…

The post Mary Kachale: The second female DPP appeared first on The Nation Online.

]]>
Coming from a family where she was the only girl with three brothers, Mary Kachale says her brothers always treated her as an equal, often challenging her to be more than ordinary.

For that reason, she never felt she was any less than a boy or a man, which encouraged her not shy away from participating in male-dominated fields. It is no wonder she became the first female Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in the country.

Mary Kachale

“With diligence and professional application, one can overcome the skepticism arising from gender stereotypes against women or the youthful,” she says.

She admits it is by the grace of God to be in that position.

“I recall working at Nantipwiri Centre in Bvumbwe with Legal Aid Department staff undertaking some mundane ‘archiving processes’ where we were literally reading through some old case files in our custody and determining how to dispose of them in readiness for the transition from Legal Aid Department to the Legal Aid Bureau.

“Then I got a call from Honourable Samuel Tembenu, the Minister of Justice informing me of the intended presidential appointment as DPP. It was quite a pleasant surprise, quite a surreal moment to say the truth!” she concedes.

Having served in the DPP’s office for most of her career, Kachale says she was quite aware it is a very demanding office. Even so, the mother of three says her professional inclination has always been towards using the law to attain justice for the victimised and marginalised in society.

“When in 2013 I was assigned to head the Legal Aid Department, it appeared as if my core professional interest had been buried. Yet, that brief spell in a senior management role helped prepare me for the overwhelming task that awaited me upon being made the DPP,” she explains.

Being the DPP means that Kachale is constitutionally responsible for all criminal prosecutions across the country. The majority of this work is done by prosecutors appointed within the Malawi Police Service working in nearly 200 magistrate courts across the country and no criminal prosecutions can commence without the consent of the DPP.

“Given the diversity and multiplicity of institutions handling various types of crimes requires one to be objective and prompt in processing applications for consent. Professionally, one also has to lead in the prosecution of certain key cases in court.

“So, the range of responsibilities includes administering the office of DPP [and its regional offices in the south and north] as well as reading and analysing cases to determine readiness for trial; and providing legal opinions to other law enforcement agencies,” she states.

As a matter of accountability, the DPP reports to the Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament for all decisions and actions taken.

“That aspect of the job can be quite taxing as one needs to provide cogent reasons for all decisions and actions taken. So, there is a lot of reading, writing and providing strategic leadership in a team of lawyers and other colleagues,” she says.

The challenges of this job are quite many, she says, quickly adding that law enforcement is never an easy task.

“One has to be prepared to be misunderstood when committed to enforcing the rules in a context where the prevailing culture is not so adherent,” she says.

In addition, she says the volume of work itself can seem overwhelming, given the perennial challenge of inadequate resources in public service.

“Sometimes it can be frustrating to see your work as a prosecutor compromised due to inadequate work at the investigations level [investigations literally provide you with the tools for successful prosecutions]. In other contexts, one might wish for more human resources to simply share the burden more equitably; yet, one has to learn to operate within the limitations imposed by the socio-economic reality. Through it all, one has to acknowledge the amazing grace of God that yields results in spite of your personal inadequacies and contextual limitations,” says Kachale.

Born Mary Phikiso in November 1977 in Dedza, she worked hard through primary and secondary schools and was selected to Chancellor College where she pursued a law degree, graduating in 2001. In 2009, she received a Master’s Degree in Law (Public International Law) from University College London (UCL).

Kachale has worked in the Ministry of Justice for almost all of her professional career, apart from a short stint on secondment as a junior counsel at the Advisory Centre for World Trade Organisation (WTO) Law in Geneva, Switzerland between September 2007 and June 2008.

She was the chief Legal Aid advocate between March 2013 and July 2014 [just prior to the transition of the former Legal Aid Department into the current Legal Aid Bureau] before becoming the DPP in July 2014.

Kachale married her college sweetheart Justice Dr. Chifundo Kachale in 2002 and together they have three children.  She notes that having a healthy family life is crucial to handling the pressure that comes from her work; and as such, she is grateful to have a supportive spouse and understanding children.

“However, I have learnt not to take their understanding for granted. So, I always plan regular time together with my family. I try to have dinner with them every day, just to stay close and I do homework with my children whenever I can. We always strive to spend weekends together doing fun stuff and always attending church together on Sundays.

“These regular interactions help me keep my feet on the ground so to speak. Everything boils down to planning and managing your time responsibly; you cannot sacrifice your family for professional success, it will leave you empty,” she advises.

Advising younger girls, Kachale points out that everyone needs to discover their true identity in God.

“Every girl is wonderfully and fearfully made by the Almighty. You need that understanding to define your true value; do not look to the opposite sex for affirmation and fulfillment [kulibe manda a mbeta]”.

She continues: “Recognise that you have a unique value to add to your family, your school and your community, but unless you can discover what that value is, you will waste your life in senseless living. Life has a purpose greater than fashion and fun, although these too have their place. If you are in school, work hard, if you are working, let your performance and not your sexuality pave the way for your success,” she says.

In conclusion, the DPP says she believes that Malawians are some of the most intelligent people on earth, but the tendency to cover up for those who are actually known to be doing wrong keeps the country as the poorest in the world.

“We generally do not like to hold people accountable and responsible for their actions and sadly, this retards our capacity for real socio-economic development. Shielding such people is like punching holes in a bucket you intend to carry water in-no matter how much water you put, it will all leak. If we truly love Malawi, let us rise up and take our stand to ensure that justice prevails at all levels of society,” she counsels.

The post Mary Kachale: The second female DPP appeared first on The Nation Online.

]]>
http://mwnation.com/mary-kachale-second-female-dpp/feed/ 0
Sporting for Cerebral Palsy children http://mwnation.com/sporting-cerebral-palsy-children/ http://mwnation.com/sporting-cerebral-palsy-children/#comments Fri, 10 Nov 2017 14:15:08 +0000 http://mwnation.com/?p=221849 Various companies, organisations and individuals came together at Malawi College of Medicine recently for a special sports day organised by Wumi Wumo Foundation to raise awareness of cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy, a condition that affects the part of the brain that controls muscle movements, affects a lot of children in the country as a result…

The post Sporting for Cerebral Palsy children appeared first on The Nation Online.

]]>
Various companies, organisations and individuals came together at Malawi College of Medicine recently for a special sports day organised by Wumi Wumo Foundation to raise awareness of cerebral palsy.

Cerebral palsy, a condition that affects the part of the brain that controls muscle movements, affects a lot of children in the country as a result of premature births and other maternal conditions.

Some of the participants celebrate during the sporting activities

Wumi Wumo is a local charity organisation that offers rehabilitation and physiotherapy services to children with the condition.

Apart from raising awareness, the sports day was also organised to raise funds for the ability centre that Wumi Wumo Fondation intends to build in Chiradzulu next year.

The organisation currently conducts its rehabilitation sessions at Mpemba Health Centre in Blantyre every Saturday and also provides nutrition supplements to children with the condition.

“The main objective was to raise awareness of the condition among Malawians so, they know what cerebral palsy is, how it affects the children and their families; and to raise funds for an ability centre that we intend to build.

“We plan to open an ability centre in Chiradzulu. So, we hope that the people we are going into partnerships with will give us a go ahead. We submitted a proposal and we are 90 percent sure we will open this rehabilitation centre. In addition, we wanted people to interact on a social level,” said the founder of Wumi Wumo Foundation, Marriam Mwalwenje-Lally.

She thanked all people who came to support the cause.

“We know that people have a lot of commitments, but we are grateful they managed to come and play for cerebral palsy. We hope to do this yearly. We can all play a part in raising awareness for cerebral palsy,” she said.

This is the second fundraiser organised by the foundation after the mountain hike at Sapitwa in April.

Apart from the physiotherapy services offered for the children at Mpemba Health centre, Wumi Wumo also empowers women, especially mothers of children with cerebral palsy.

They are equipped with entrepreneurship skills to start their own businesses. They have also been organised into a village savings and loans (VSL) group to save money and borrow for their small scale businesses.

The post Sporting for Cerebral Palsy children appeared first on The Nation Online.

]]>
http://mwnation.com/sporting-cerebral-palsy-children/feed/ 1
Elizabeth Chatuwa: Girl Guide district youth commissioner http://mwnation.com/elizabeth-chatuwa-girl-guide-district-youth-commissioner/ http://mwnation.com/elizabeth-chatuwa-girl-guide-district-youth-commissioner/#comments Sun, 05 Nov 2017 03:46:54 +0000 http://mwnation.com/?p=221215 When she joined the Malawi Girl Guide Association (Magga) at age 10, Elizabeth Chatuwa did it just for the sake of it. It was a school club like any other and most of her friends were in it. She knew very little about what Girl Guide was all about, but when she became a member,…

The post Elizabeth Chatuwa: Girl Guide district youth commissioner appeared first on The Nation Online.

]]>
When she joined the Malawi Girl Guide Association (Magga) at age 10, Elizabeth Chatuwa did it just for the sake of it.

It was a school club like any other and most of her friends were in it. She knew very little about what Girl Guide was all about, but when she became a member, Elizabeth realised that girls can change the world.

Nineteen years later, she is still a girl guide as the association’s district youth commissioner, mentoring girls and assisting youth leaders in delivering programmes.

As per Magga’s vision- which is to ‘see a population of Malawian girls and young women that is empowered to realise their fullest potential as responsible citizens of the country- Elizabeth felt that empowering girls and young women would help develop the country.

“Questions have been raised in various forums whether women have what it takes to provide leadership in different sectors. My involvement with Girl Guide gave the best answer that ‘Yes, girls can’. So, I felt that I should share the same with other girls and young women though my advocacy,” she explains.

As a commissioner, she is involved in the recruitment of girls into Girl Guides, facilitating trainings for unit leaders, ensuring involvement of youth in decision making levels and representing the Malawi Girl Guides in events related to youth in the regions. 

On top of the terms of reference that she has with Magga, the 29-year-old leads a programme called voices against violence- a joint collaboration between United Nations (UN) Women and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.

“Voices against violence is a non-formal education curriculum for children in schools and communities. It trains youth leaders to deliver age-appropriate content to children and young people. Through activities such as role play, discussions and games, participants learn about violence against women and girls; how to challenge gender stereotypes, social norms and build respectful relationships. I am also involved in the bring girls back to school programme whereby we are reaching all the girls that dropped out from school to start again despite the situations they are in,” she says.

There are a number of challenges that she faces in her day to day job. Among others, Elizabeth feels that there are a lot of girls who need the association’s help.

As a non-profit organisation, Magga stands on a mission to enable girls and young women develop physically, socially, emotionally, mentally (intellectually), spiritually and economically so that they become responsible and useful citizens of the country.

“We do not provide monitory assistance to these girls, but we meet a lot of girls who are willing to further their studies, but lack school resources.  I try my best, with the assistance from the secretariat to find individuals or organisations that are able to assist such kind of girls,” she says.

Elizabeth comes from a Christian family, with parents that were very strict about their attending Sunday School. It is from those Sunday schools where she learned about Christianity and its values.

“I have been following the values that I learnt when I was young and they have helped me to be where I am today. Also, coming from a family of girls only, my parents were very protective. They were equally strict about the friends I played with as well as hard work at school.

Just like any other young person, the determined and result oriented Elizabeth had to overcome Peer pressure.

“Being surrounded by friends from different backgrounds, I had to choose what was important and best for me to progress in life,” she explains, adding that having a positive mind helped her a lot leading to her being entrusted by Magga with the position of a youth commissioner.

Many people wonder how an Information Technology (IT) professional volunteers and advocates much on girls and women empowerment. But she notes that it does not take what one’s qualification to advocate on the rights of girls.

“It’s all about the passion one has for the betterment of our girls. The 50-50 Campaign cannot work if we don’t prepare girls to be future leaders. I feel proud  to speak on behalf of girls, empower them and fight together for their rights.  I want a better future for girls and for gender-based-violence (GBV) to end. I want world leaders to realise the importance of girls and young women. We are central to our families, but if we want to flourish we must be given the opportunity. After all, if you educate a girl, you educate the world,” she argues

While inviting all who would like to join girl guides to work together in moulding girls, Elizabeth advises younger girls that hard work pays.

The commissioner further advises them that whatever girls do, they should make sure that it produces fruits, highlighting the importance of putting effort in whatever they do.

She also points to the importance of girls being proactive: “For Girl Guides to in trust me, they saw my positive contributions towards girl empowerment. Girls need to have attainable goals in life. These goals will guide them to achieve and be successful in life,” she advises.

Elizabeth, the first born in the family of three girls, was born and raised in Lilongwe. She comes from Laiti VIlliage, Traditional Authority (T/A)  Bvumbwe in Thyolo.

Born on April 1 1988, she holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology from Amity University. She is certified in Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL certified). She is also a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP). In addition to these, she obtained Diplomas 1 and 2 in Professional Computing and Information Technology with ABMA UK board.

Apart from her role in Magga, Elizabeth is also the IT director and a member of WeCare Youth Group – a non-profit organisation whose idea is to support orphans and vulnerable children with education.

The support includes school fees, school uniforms, school shoes, exercise books and examination fees.

“We also mentor them to be what they admire to be in future and help them to make right choices. WeCare also counsels and helps guardians and parents on how they can raise their children to become responsible citizens.  The group also supports its beneficiaries with health education accompanied by malnutrition screening and support with nutritional supplements to those that are under weight.

“Apart from malnutrition, WeCare also does parental discussions on HIV testing and care for the whole family. It also works in child right promotion at community and household levels so that all community members are aware of children’s’ rights and that everyone takes a responsibility to advocate for such. The funds are sourced through the members’ monthly contributions,” she explains.

The post Elizabeth Chatuwa: Girl Guide district youth commissioner appeared first on The Nation Online.

]]>
http://mwnation.com/elizabeth-chatuwa-girl-guide-district-youth-commissioner/feed/ 1
‘MCs should be more sensitive’ http://mwnation.com/mcs-should-be-more-sensitive/ http://mwnation.com/mcs-should-be-more-sensitive/#comments Fri, 03 Nov 2017 15:51:51 +0000 http://mwnation.com/?p=221219 In order to raise a lot of money at events such as bridal showers, engagement ceremonies, weddings and send-offs, some directors of ceremonies have become insensitive in coercing people to give more. Generally, a master of ceremony (MC) is paid 10 percent of whatever is raised during an event, hence, will strive to raise as…

The post ‘MCs should be more sensitive’ appeared first on The Nation Online.

]]>
In order to raise a lot of money at events such as bridal showers, engagement ceremonies, weddings and send-offs, some directors of ceremonies have become insensitive in coercing people to give more.

Generally, a master of ceremony (MC) is paid 10 percent of whatever is raised during an event, hence, will strive to raise as much as he/she can to get more money.

Wedding celebrations such as this one have been reduced to fund raisers

At one event, an MC ‘fined’ a certain pastor pay for not gracing the event with his wife, unknown to him that the pastor was widowed.

Fines or coercion has become the order of events by MCs, including singling out people wearing certain attires or what they are to give prescribed amounts of money- much to the humiliation of both the called out and those deemed unworthy for not being considered as givers.

Southern Region Masters of Ceremonies (MCs) Association chairperson Marvis Kabuthu argued that MCs generally have varying talents and some do things just to drive morale.

“We all consider finding marriage as God’s Grace so, yes, sometimes we might say, ‘all those that have been blessed with marriages, come to the front and give’. But all that is done just for fun. MCs assume that everyone who comes to the events has a little something to give the couple,” she says.

Kabuthu maintains that MCs, just as Disk Jockeys (DJs), event decorators and caterers are important and should equally be given whatever amount of money they demand from organisers.

“Our efforts to negotiate for a flat figure often do not yield anything. Every time we suggest a figure, organisers say we are too expensive and opt for the 10 percent. There are many ways to increase the 10 percent we get and we have to engage all these techniques,” says Kabuthu, while hinting that the percentage they demand is likely to get higher soon.

Sociologist Charles Chilimampunga notes that such events are celebrations and that it is not right to put guests in awkward positions when they do not have money.

“These things can be embarrassing. It is clear that MCs are trying to raise funds, but sometimes they go overboard, putting others in difficult positions. I don’t think it is appropriate. Guests need to enjoy the celebration even if they do not have money.

“It is alright if they call on people in groups such as people from the male or female’s side of the family because then, one can just go and dance along in the crowd even if they do not have money, unlike specifying in terms of what one is wearing and such other things. These functions have to be fun for everyone, with or without money,” says Chilimampunga.

 

The post ‘MCs should be more sensitive’ appeared first on The Nation Online.

]]>
http://mwnation.com/mcs-should-be-more-sensitive/feed/ 1
Hara’s channel to safe motherhood http://mwnation.com/haras-channel-safe-motherhood/ http://mwnation.com/haras-channel-safe-motherhood/#comments Fri, 03 Nov 2017 15:49:56 +0000 http://mwnation.com/?p=221216 Working as a nurse and midwife, Wilned Hara felt there was a big knowledge gap on safe motherhood in the country. He has since published a book, Family Guide to Safe Motherhood to bridge that gap. “Every day I see women struggling with preventable maternity problems. Women and newborn babies die from treatable conditions if…

The post Hara’s channel to safe motherhood appeared first on The Nation Online.

]]>
Working as a nurse and midwife, Wilned Hara felt there was a big knowledge gap on safe motherhood in the country.

He has since published a book, Family Guide to Safe Motherhood to bridge that gap.

Mothers need all the support from their families

“Every day I see women struggling with preventable maternity problems. Women and newborn babies die from treatable conditions if only their families knew how to detect problems early and seek medical help,” he explains.

A 2016 study by the White Ribbon Alliance found that there was acute shortage of midwives in Malawi working in the hospitals.

Hara notes that the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends one midwife for every 175 women of reproductive age, yet, in Malawi, one midwife takes care of 1 199 women.

“According to a study by Kongyuy E.J, Mlava G. and Van De Broek N. in 2009, this shortage directly or indirectly affected the ability of midwives to provide education on safe motherhood to families, consequently resulting in significant deaths or complications for women and children,” says the midwife.

The reasons above, coupled with the many questions he got from the public whenever he blogged on safe motherhood convinced him to take another step in providing information to the public in a convenient way, hence, the book.

Family Guide to Safe Motherhood takes individuals through pre-conception, how to conceive, successful pregnancy and childbirth.

“A woman needs to be in good physical and psychological condition before getting pregnant and if she has any health problems, she needs to address them to increase her chances of a successful pregnancy.

“The book empowers families to actively take part in promoting safe motherhood. Men and other members of the family will have no excuse in caring for a pregnant woman and newborn as there is sufficient information for them,” says Hara.

The 2015/16 Malawi Health and Demographic Survey found that progress is slow in the fight against maternal and newborn deaths.

It says 439 out of every 100 000 women are dying due to pregnancy and childbirth related complications, not taking into account the women who are surviving with life altering complications such as fistula.

According to Hara, Greece and Estonia have less than three maternity related deaths out of the same 100 000 women, adding that Malawi needs to do more.

He claims to have received positive feedback from those who have bought the book so far.

Hara graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Midwifery at Kamuzu College of Nursing (KCN) and is currently working with Chatinkha Maternity Wing at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital.

Director of Improved Midwifery care Access Initiative (IMCAI) Dan Kawaye said the book complements their efforts to increasing access to quality sexual, reproductive, maternal and child health services.

“Malawi, with one of the highest cases of maternal deaths, needs more innovations. Every action counts and every life counts,” he said. n

 

The post Hara’s channel to safe motherhood appeared first on The Nation Online.

]]>
http://mwnation.com/haras-channel-safe-motherhood/feed/ 1
Bertha Munthali: Inventor of an African doll based on a folk tale http://mwnation.com/bertha-munthali-inventor-african-doll-based-folk-tale/ http://mwnation.com/bertha-munthali-inventor-african-doll-based-folk-tale/#comments Sat, 28 Oct 2017 21:48:05 +0000 http://mwnation.com/?p=220564 Growing up in a typical village, Bertha Mkandawire-Munthali knew from an early age that her only chance of escaping the jaws of poverty was to work hard in school. Her early years were influenced by life in Khwawa Village, along the lakeshore in Traditional Authority (T/A) Wasambo, Karonga. As a child dreaming big and dodging…

The post Bertha Munthali: Inventor of an African doll based on a folk tale appeared first on The Nation Online.

]]>
Growing up in a typical village, Bertha Mkandawire-Munthali knew from an early age that her only chance of escaping the jaws of poverty was to work hard in school.

Her early years were influenced by life in Khwawa Village, along the lakeshore in Traditional Authority (T/A) Wasambo, Karonga.

As a child dreaming big and dodging poverty, she recalls her father often referring to education as the key.  `

Bertha was raised just like any village girl, surrounded by many setbacks which compelled her to beat them.

“It did not matter where I was going, but anywhere was more attractive than my village. Early marriages, poverty, limited access to quality education were all forces that knocked at my destiny’s door and I refused to be buried in such forces, but to work hard.

“When I finished my primary education and went to Ekwendeni Girls Secondary School, it was my ray of hope for a better future. I proceeded to Chancellor College and, thereafter, started working in non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which opened doors for me,” she narrates.

Bertha later pursued her master’s degree and continued to work and this is her 13th year working in the field of nutrition. Bertha learnt to fight for everything she wanted in life and is still fighting.

“I knew there was no way I could leave my village and live like people in magazines if I did not work hard. We never had role models to inspire us, so, our inspiration was the idea of living in the city,” she recalls.

The mother of three has worked for different national and international organisations in Malawi and Zambia. She now holds a full time job as a nutrition advisor with Fanrpan, a regional organisation in Pretoria and is pursuing a PhD in Human Nutrition at University of Pretoria.

She is also the founder of Yellow Kingdom Network (YKN), an African themed children edutainment network aimed at educating and entertaining the African child.

“Our main aim is to contribute to the socialisation of the African child, the African way. So YKN exists to tell the Malawian child the stories we heard as children, in form of toys and dolls; story books, children products and reality shows. Our dream is to be the Disney of Malawi, just that our stories will add value to our children’s education,” she says.

It all started one night as she tucked her children into bed. As usual, they asked for a bedtime story from their library book on Disney princesses. Bertha had read to them many times before and although she obliged, she was troubled because they always requested stories with characters from beyond their world.

“This gave me an idea to bring out Malawian stories in whatever way I could for the Malawian child. So, I told them the story of Kamdothi, but instead of having a sad ending of Kamdothi dissolving, I made her a clay princess instead.

“I presented her as a princess who conquered her dissolving limitation and became a princess. With the clay princess in the story, I decided to make Kamdothi the character of high importance in the life of the Malawian child and it became my obsession,” the inventor explains.

From that story, she created a doll and called it Chichi (her firstborn daughter’s nickname). Bertha believed that making Kamdothi into a life-like resemblance and as something they could play with would seduce them to falling in love with Malawian fire place stories.

Five more dolls with similar faces to Chichi’s were made, only with varying hair and skin shades, to represent the physical diversities of Africans.

The doll is now gaining global recognition with people as far as Australia buying and showing interest in being distributors. It is also selling in South Africa, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Zambia and other parts of the world.

“Retailing on a larger scale is a challenge as it requires well organised outlets. So, most of the selling is done through our website www.yellowkingdomnetwork.com and in Malawi, my relations help with the selling,” says the 39-year-old.

Launching YKN is a symbol of her passion to tell Malawian children the stories her generation used to hear when they were younger. She started by writing and adapting existing Malawian stories so that they keep going even for generations to come.

“I package these stories in many forms. When I adapted Kamdothi, I realised she would not stand and be liked akin to the likes of Cinderella and Frozen (the endless winter) because our children are used to famous characters they see on television.

“Adventure series’ such as Sofia, Doc Mcstuffins, Sabrina the good witch and other Hollywood stories finely packaged in animations, books and toys are more attractive and enjoyed by our children,” she said.

When Bertha wrote her first story, Yapataula the princess of the Maravi Kingdom, she knew it would struggle to be accepted by the children because it was not packaged as the other stories were.

Her next story was an adaptation of Kamdothi thawa Mvula which many people enjoyed in their youthful days, but were not able to properly tell to their children.

“I adapted the story and made Kamdothi a princess who ascends to the throne as the next queen of her kingdom. I then realised that Kamdothi had to be repackaged in a way that a modern child could accept and enjoy,” she explains.

However, Bertha says that YKN is struggling to penetrate the market amid the existing system of networks including Disney, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Ceebeebees and others that have been around for long and have better studios to produce world class entertainment for children. YKN is underfunded and must subcontract most of its work.

The network has started with story books, dolls and other products to raise revenue and start producing animations to operate just like any other children’s entertainment entity.

Bertha, the fourth born in a family of seven children, was born at St Anne’s Hospital in Chilumba on July 16 1978. She is married to Owen Munthali and together they have three children.

She confesses that balancing work and family is hard. “I am a wife, a mother, a sister, an aunt, a business woman, a part time PhD student and an employee. I don’t take each role for granted and I try to be who I am in each, but that is not always the case. Certain parts suffer.

“My current work entails travelling frequently across Africa and beyond and that takes a lot of my time away from my family. It’s not healthy at all, but then I must work. Right now, I would not be close to saying I balance it all; family time suffers. However, the little time I am available, I maximise it with my family,” she declares.

The post Bertha Munthali: Inventor of an African doll based on a folk tale appeared first on The Nation Online.

]]>
http://mwnation.com/bertha-munthali-inventor-african-doll-based-folk-tale/feed/ 1
‘Breastfeeding is one of the smartest investments’ http://mwnation.com/breastfeeding-one-smartest-investments/ http://mwnation.com/breastfeeding-one-smartest-investments/#comments Fri, 27 Oct 2017 12:04:10 +0000 http://mwnation.com/?p=220563 The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) has released new findings on the economic gains-besides the obvious health benefits-of breastfeeding. Hailing the practice as an investment that ought to be supported by governments, the UN estimates that 4.70 dollars can push up rates of breastfeeding to 50 percent by 2025. Currently, only 23 countries can claim…

The post ‘Breastfeeding is one of the smartest investments’ appeared first on The Nation Online.

]]>
The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) has released new findings on the economic gains-besides the obvious health benefits-of breastfeeding.

Hailing the practice as an investment that ought to be supported by governments, the UN estimates that 4.70 dollars can push up rates of breastfeeding to 50 percent by 2025.

Breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast cancer

Currently, only 23 countries can claim a rate above 60 percent. Overall, only 40 percent of children less than six months old are exclusively breastfed today.

In the world’s largest emerging economies-China, India, Indonesia, Mexico and Nigeria-236 000 children die each year from a lack of investment in breastfeeding. Together, the countries lose more than 119 billion dollars annually.

A healthier workforce, nurtured from the very beginning of childhood, can add to a prosperous economy. Breastfeeding ensures ammunition against deadly diseases such as diarrhoea and pneumonia, which are two major causes of death among infants.

Similarly, it reduces the risk of ovarian and breast cancer among mothers.

“We need to raise awareness about the importance of breastfeeding-the baby should be fed with mother’s milk within the first hour of being born. Unfortunately, for many social and cultural reasons, this is not put to diligent practice. This is a sheer missed opportunity,” said France Begin, senior nutrition adviser for infant and young child nutrition at UNICEF.

The obvious benefits of breastfeeding, such as providing nutrition and bolstering development of the brain are well known. Still, it is commonly mistaken as a woman’s job alone.

“Nepal and Kenya have done a wonderful job with policies to protect lactating mothers. In Kenya for example, all workplaces in the private sector have a room dedicated to mothers who have to breastfeed their children. In a way, this is our message too-you have to support women,” said Begin.

Indeed, providing lactation education classes and better paid maternity leave can go a long way.

Across all income levels, breastfeeding adds to an increase in intelligence, measured by a 3-point Intelligence Quotient (IQ) increase on average.

 

The post ‘Breastfeeding is one of the smartest investments’ appeared first on The Nation Online.

]]>
http://mwnation.com/breastfeeding-one-smartest-investments/feed/ 1
Bloodsuckers saga overshadows cultural festival http://mwnation.com/bloodsuckers-saga-overshadows-cultural-festival/ http://mwnation.com/bloodsuckers-saga-overshadows-cultural-festival/#comments Mon, 23 Oct 2017 06:58:56 +0000 http://mwnation.com/?p=220118   What was supposed to be a pure cultural celebration turned out to be an opportunity for President Peter Mutharika to address Malawians on the alleged presence of ‘bloodsuckers’ in the country. On Saturday, the President attended the official launch of the cultural grouping for Senas and Mang’anjas called Ngumano wa Asena na Mang’anja at…

The post Bloodsuckers saga overshadows cultural festival appeared first on The Nation Online.

]]>
 

What was supposed to be a pure cultural celebration turned out to be an opportunity for President Peter Mutharika to address Malawians on the alleged presence of ‘bloodsuckers’ in the country.

On Saturday, the President attended the official launch of the cultural grouping for Senas and Mang’anjas called Ngumano wa Asena na Mang’anja at Paramount Chief Lundu’s headquarters in Chikwawa, but his speech dwelled more on ‘alleged bloodsuckers’ than the cultural event.

President Mutharika with Paramount Chief Lundu at the ceremony

Said the President: “There is no evidence that there are bloodsuckers in the country. If anyone will be found attacking or accusing another of being a bloodsucker, they will be arrested. Let us concentrate on developing the country than dwelling on this issue because so far there is no evidence of any bloodsuckers in Malawi.”

On the formation of the tribal grouping, the President said he was happy that people of the Shire Valley have come together to form the grouping but reminded them that the biggest and supreme group is that of all Malawians.

He also took the opportunity to ask people of the Shire Valley to desist from practising some cultural beliefs that are harmful.

“Let’s refrain from practising harmful cultural practices. There are other cultural practices that put us at risk of catching the virus that causes Aids,” said the President.

Speaking earlier, chairperson of the Ngumano wa Amang’anja na Asena Owen Chimanika said through the grouping, the people of the two tribes will be closer and will reclaim their fading languages and way of life.

The launch of the grouping was characterised by traditional and cultural dances as well as music performances by renowned Shire Valley artists such as Lucky Stars and Stanley Nyandoro Nthenga. n

 

The post Bloodsuckers saga overshadows cultural festival appeared first on The Nation Online.

]]>
http://mwnation.com/bloodsuckers-saga-overshadows-cultural-festival/feed/ 1
Ria Duke: Testifies to surviving breast cancer http://mwnation.com/ria-duke-testifies-surviving-breast-cancer/ http://mwnation.com/ria-duke-testifies-surviving-breast-cancer/#comments Sun, 22 Oct 2017 04:39:05 +0000 http://mwnation.com/?p=220058 On June 21 2015, after seven biopsies, Ria Duke received the phone call that would change her life. She had breast cancer. She broke down in front of her two children, Michael and Gabby, who were equally sad and scared. A wave of questions ran through her mind; why me? What have I done wrong?…

The post Ria Duke: Testifies to surviving breast cancer appeared first on The Nation Online.

]]>
On June 21 2015, after seven biopsies, Ria Duke received the phone call that would change her life. She had breast cancer. She broke down in front of her two children, Michael and Gabby, who were equally sad and scared.

A wave of questions ran through her mind; why me? What have I done wrong? The fear of death and insecurity characterised her life in the days that followed.

“Things changed; I felt insecure and vulnerable in my relationship with my husband. It made me hate myself,” she says.

But Ria was on a mission. God made her a mother and she had to be just that.

“I needed to be a mother for my children, to see them grow, get married and be a success in life. And I survived breast cancer because of them,” she says.

After her diagnosis, Ria had partial mastectomy and later went through 36 sessions of radiation at Glynwood Hospital in Benoni, South Africa.

All the while, her children were marking each radiation session off the calendar, assuring her that she was almost done.

Ria’s father took her to all the radiation treatments, making sure she did not miss a session, while her mother always got off work to attend all her doctors’ appointments.

Her diagnosis came just before her husband Shane decided for the family needed to return to Malawi. They shelved their plans of moving so she could complete her treatment.

“After radiation, we came to Malawi. In 2016, I went back to South Africa for a regular mammogram check-up and I was diagnosed with cancer in my left breast. I had double mastectomy as I did not want to go through radiation again,” she says.

Ria also had breast implants at the same time to save her the trouble of travelling.

Stronger now, Ria is positive she can face any challenge because she survived the breast cancer which she attributed to hormones as there is no history in her family.

Upon her return to Malawi after the double mastectomy, she thought she needed to give something back to the community through breast cancer awareness.

In May 2017, she founded the Breast Care Limited, which has been registered as a non-governmental organisation (NGO).

Breast Care Limited has joined hands with Dr Briony Acroyed-Parken, a local breast cancer surgeon from the United Kingdom, to help him build a breast care centre for Malawi.

October is breast cancer awareness month. And as part of raising awareness, Ria, alongside Breast Care Limited recently organised an awareness eight kilometre walk at Mandala in Blantyre.

The fun run also raised funds to build a breast care facility in the country- estimated to cost K5 billion. The facility, according to her, will be a three storey building complete with the latest technology and equipment for breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.

“As Breast Care Limited, we have noted a gap in early screening and treatment of cancer. This is particular to Malawi because of the challenges that exist in the health sector. For instance, the country’s health sector is marred by lack of sufficient funds, lack of equipment and low motivation of staff.

“Malawi has few screening centres and the level of awareness is extremely low. In addition, because of lack of treatment centres, the disease burden of cancer impacts on the finances of individuals as they seek for treatment outside. However, in most cases once diagnosed with cancer as is with most chronic illnesses in Malawi, chances of survival are slim,” she observes.

She adds that they have had a few other fundraisers and the money will be used to pay for special equipment needed by the doctor to diagnose breast cancer in women in Malawi.

The breast cancer survivor further notes that many people do not know about breast cancer or any cancers, yet, many people have it.

“And if they have it, they have to be treated for it. Without a breast cancer centre at the moment, that becomes difficult. Every woman should know about breast cancer and all its dangers.

“It is a silent killer if one does not know about it. It is very important that we build a breast care centre to save people’s lives. If I didn’t have treatment outside the country at a special breast care health facility, I would not have survived,” she says.

Ria urges women and girls to see a doctor with any small change in their breasts as anything could be a start of breast cancer. She reports that anybody can survive breast cancer if diagnosed early.

“When diagnosed, it is important to stay positive and do exactly as the doctor says. Never fall into the trap of alternative medication because people are out there to make money. After my diagnosis, everyone around me had some drug they thought would work well on me. But they are all just trying to make money,” she cautions.

Acroyed-Parken notes that many patients have long delays before they are given a correct diagnosis of breast cancer, which is very often compounded by their lack of awareness of the significance of their symptoms, so they delay seeking help in the first place.

Once they do reach a diagnosis, she says because of the lack of specialist centres, they frequently are treated by clinicians not very familiar with the condition, who only infrequently see cases, so they may get inappropriate or suboptimal treatment.

Ria is married to Shane, whose mother died of breast cancer. She says he was very supportive throughout her illness.

The two of them will celebrate 25 years of marriage on December 5 this year. They met in South Africa where he went to study when he was 18.

The post Ria Duke: Testifies to surviving breast cancer appeared first on The Nation Online.

]]>
http://mwnation.com/ria-duke-testifies-surviving-breast-cancer/feed/ 1
Breast cancer on the rise in Malawi http://mwnation.com/breast-cancer-rise-malawi/ http://mwnation.com/breast-cancer-rise-malawi/#comments Fri, 20 Oct 2017 14:52:01 +0000 http://mwnation.com/?p=220060 As the world unites for breast cancer awareness this month, Malawi, too, shares its troubles concerning the disease. Dr Briony Acroyed-Parken, a breast cancer surgeon from the United Kingdom says Malawi’s biggest challenge is the lack of a coordinated breast care service. “We are seeing probably about a hundred or so new cases each in…

The post Breast cancer on the rise in Malawi appeared first on The Nation Online.

]]>
As the world unites for breast cancer awareness this month, Malawi, too, shares its troubles concerning the disease.

Dr Briony Acroyed-Parken, a breast cancer surgeon from the United Kingdom says Malawi’s biggest challenge is the lack of a coordinated breast care service.

“We are seeing probably about a hundred or so new cases each in Lilongwe and Blantyre.  The number of new cases outside these areas is not known. The global incidence is increasing and the incidence in Malawi is increasing.

“Non-communicable diseases, particulary cancer, are a rapidly growing problem in low and middle income countries [LMICs] now that infectious diseases are under better control and it is recognised that the incidence is increasing rapidly year on year,” said Acroyed-Parken.

She observes that the World Health Organisation (WHO) now focuses on cancer in LMICs as a priority.

The doctor admits that because the country is are not able to collect the data on breast cancer accurately (despite having one of the best cancer registries in Africa), Malawi does not have accurate figures.

“Nevertheless, I can certainly assure you that the numbers are definitely not going down! We have just this year set up a one-stop diagnostic breast clinic in Blantyre and Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) in Lilongwe expects to follow within the next month.

“We also hope that Mzuzu and Zomba will join us in due course, so all regions will be covered from specialist services in the central hospitals which will mean that services are available for all Malawians, modelled on the best services in high income countries,” she said.

According to Acroyed-Parken, patients need clinical assessment from a breast specialist, who are very few in Malawi.

In addition, she says we lack mammography in all government centres and Malawi is very constrained with its pathological services, which poses a significant challenge.

“We are just managing this within Blantyre at present, but lack capacity for expansion as the service becomes better known and demand increases.  I believe there is capacity in pathology at KCH and anticipate they will establish a satisfactory service very soon,” said Acroyed-Parken.

Once a patient has been diagnosed with cancer, she says the challenge is to provide necessary surgery as soon as would be desired.

Acroyed-Parken adds that the oncology service is also greatly overstretched and so far there is no radiotherapy in Malawi, which is an essential component of treatment for breast cancer in many cases.

The post Breast cancer on the rise in Malawi appeared first on The Nation Online.

]]>
http://mwnation.com/breast-cancer-rise-malawi/feed/ 1
Nissily Mushani: Winner of the Family Planning Leaders, 2017 http://mwnation.com/nissily-mushani-winner-family-planning-leaders-2017/ http://mwnation.com/nissily-mushani-winner-family-planning-leaders-2017/#comments Sun, 15 Oct 2017 03:37:02 +0000 http://mwnation.com/?p=219518 The understanding that high population growth reinforces poor socio economic outcomes for poor households sparked Nissily Mushani’s interest in family planning. She notes that in Malawi, 50 percent of girls marry by the age of 18 and 30 percent would have started child bearing by that time. Mushani notes that despite efforts to nullify child…

The post Nissily Mushani: Winner of the Family Planning Leaders, 2017 appeared first on The Nation Online.

]]>
The understanding that high population growth reinforces poor socio economic outcomes for poor households sparked Nissily Mushani’s interest in family planning.

She notes that in Malawi, 50 percent of girls marry by the age of 18 and 30 percent would have started child bearing by that time.

Nissily Mushani: Winner of the Family Planning Leaders, 2017

Mushani notes that despite efforts to nullify child marriages, coupled with the return to school policy, most young girls are lost on the road to developing themselves, with their dreams shattered.

“Young girls and women in rural areas are the poorest who have more children. Investing in family planning [FP] keeps girls in school; it keeps women alive and contributes to productive labour in society.

“Family Planning enables individuals and couples to control their fertility and plan their lives. We need to speak on their behalf while creating platforms for self-expression. In a number of instances, I have seen that access to information and services on FP could have made someone’s life better,” she explains.

Mushani is Malawi’s 2017 winner of the New Generation of Family Planning Leaders, an initiative under the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, that recognises young people working to advance FP and reproductive health in their communities. 

Humbled and excited for Malawi, she considers her win as recognition that the country is doing something positive on family planning.

Making a difference in the lives of others is what she likes about family planning.

“Knowing that I have contributed to the betterment of one person, one community, one village and probably to the development of the country brings a smile on my face. Much of my work has involved advocating or spearheading changes in policies with regards to FP and population and development.

“The first point of making sure something is to be implemented is to ensure making it part of government policy. I am happy to have contributed to a few of such policies in my line of work,” she points out.

Prior to joining African Institute for Development Policy (Afidep), the young woman was a principal economist in the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development, where among other things she was responsible for coordinating the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the National Population Policy and its related programmes.

Family time for the champion (Third from right)

She also worked with other partners to mobilise political support to reposition family planning as a key strategy for sustainable development and offered technical advice to other line ministries with respect to strategy and project formulation.

“My passion is promoting prioritisation of FP in development planning at national, district and community level. In 2010, I advocated  inclusion of a population sub-theme in the national development plan which led to enhancing access and delivery of reproductive health services in the country. I know that the future medium term plans of Malawi will always have this as a priority as well,” she says.

In addition to that, Mushani says she is proud of the few times she has been accorded the privilege to chat with young people or men and women about FP and development; and they understood its importance.

“Such moments have been worth my time,” she says.

Having worked in family planning for so long, Mushani feels that along the way, Malawi has shifted its focus to provision of such services and reduced efforts on Information, Education and Communication (IEC).

“There is still a need to reinvigorate campaigns on FP for the older generation and ‘future planning for the younger generation’. Our first point of entry should always be age appropriate, accurate and timely information on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) to all. There is need to have gate keepers and parents involved more,” Mushani says.

She adds that there are a number of measures put in place to ensure that younger girls do not get pregnant early.

“They include life skills subjects in schools, programmes at community, district and national level targeting young girls and boys including the Safeguard Young People (SYP) programme. Most of all, government is ensuring that there is youth friendly health services (YFHS) at all levels in the country,” she says.

Mushani says there are also programmes that have been initiated to encourage parents’ participation in providing the right information to their children about SRHR.

She further notes that FP is an integral part to individual, couple, community and national development, adding that it is important to ensure that everyone is enabled to choose when they want to have a child and how many they want to have.

“Unplanned pregnancies have negative far reaching consequences such as unsafe abortions, maternal mortality, disability, dropout from school and early marriages. By providing everyone with timely and right information, we empower everyone to make that choice. Every pregnancy should be safe and wanted,” she concludes.

Mushani notes that all grown-ups have the responsibility of ensuring that young people have dreams and they should protect and nurture those dreams.

“We need to make room for those dreams to flourish. We need to provide them with role models, mentors and safe spaces,” she says.

Originally from Chitipa, the family planning advocate was born and raised in Lilongwe. She comes from a family of six children, three girls and three boys with parents that support good education with its potential to uplift an individual, a household and a community.

After primary school, she was selected to Chipasula Secondary School, but after one term she was transferred to Nkhamenya Girls Secondary school.

She holds a Master’s Degree in Economic Policy Management (EPM) obtained from the University of Zambia in 2011. Mushani said the degree accorded her the opportunity to gain knowledge, skills and team-based experience with case-oriented policy applications as a middle level policy maker.

Prior to obtaining the Master’s degree, she completed, magna cum laude, a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Sciences, majoring in Economics with a minor in Sociology at the University of Malawi in 2006.

She is a fellow for Leaders in Environment and Development- Southern and Eastern Africa (LEAD-SEA); board member of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood-Malawi and a member of the Women Leaders Advocates for FP/RH.

She also served as the board chairperson for the National Youth Network on Climate Change (2014-2016), and was the country coordinator for International Youth Alliance on Family Planning, 2014-2015 for Malawi.

The post Nissily Mushani: Winner of the Family Planning Leaders, 2017 appeared first on The Nation Online.

]]>
http://mwnation.com/nissily-mushani-winner-family-planning-leaders-2017/feed/ 1
Bankers initiate girls into the sector http://mwnation.com/bankers-initiate-girls-sector/ http://mwnation.com/bankers-initiate-girls-sector/#comments Fri, 13 Oct 2017 14:10:03 +0000 http://mwnation.com/?p=219530 As the world commemorated the International Day of the Girl (IDG) on Wednesday, Standard Bank employees hosted school girls to inspire them. Girls from the three regions of the country registered for the special occasion of walking the Standard Bank corridors and learning from its employees. Blantyre based Elizabeth Matiki, a Standard Seven pupil at…

The post Bankers initiate girls into the sector appeared first on The Nation Online.

]]>
As the world commemorated the International Day of the Girl (IDG) on Wednesday, Standard Bank employees hosted school girls to inspire them.

Girls from the three regions of the country registered for the special occasion of walking the Standard Bank corridors and learning from its employees.

Some of the girls interacting with the bank employees

Blantyre based Elizabeth Matiki, a Standard Seven pupil at Saint Pius Primary School was one of them.

“I dream of becoming a bank manager and I am glad I had a chance to participate in this special initiative. My aunt works with Nedbank and she is one of my role models. She is actually the one who registered me for this exercise,” she said.

Standard Bank company secretary and head of legal services Etness Chanza said they hoped to inspire the girls to achieve more in life.

In addition, she said the bank would like to give the girls the understanding that there are more options and opportunities out there for them, and that they can achieve whatever they want.

“It was humbling and exciting to be part of the exercise because we could see in them the eagerness to learn new things.

“We feel the satisfaction when we impact girls positively. They learnt also about people who faced the same challenges they are facing, but they managed to overcome and are living better lives now,” she said.

Standard Bank is also doing mentorship programmes for girls in partnership with the United Nations Children Fund (Unicef).

The programme started with girls from Chimbiya in Dedza.

“We pride ourselves in promoting girls and ensuring they stay in school and achieves her dreams. We encourage them that being a girl is not a limitation,” said Chanza.

The post Bankers initiate girls into the sector appeared first on The Nation Online.

]]>
http://mwnation.com/bankers-initiate-girls-sector/feed/ 2
Media women taste maternity woes http://mwnation.com/media-women-taste-maternity-woes/ http://mwnation.com/media-women-taste-maternity-woes/#comments Fri, 13 Oct 2017 14:04:12 +0000 http://mwnation.com/?p=219525 Getting into the maternity ward at Chilomoni Health Centre in Blantyre last week, her attention was drawn to a woman close to the entrance. Under the mosquito net, the woman, loosely covering her body with a wrapper, tossed and turned in her bed. She could care less about the strangers that had just invaded her…

The post Media women taste maternity woes appeared first on The Nation Online.

]]>
Getting into the maternity ward at Chilomoni Health Centre in Blantyre last week, her attention was drawn to a woman close to the entrance.

Under the mosquito net, the woman, loosely covering her body with a wrapper, tossed and turned in her bed. She could care less about the strangers that had just invaded her space.

The journalists chat with some women in the ward

She was in labour. In that moment Teresa Ndanga, Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) chairperson was reminded of her own labour experience six years ago.

“I was in extreme pain and could not lie still. I had hours to go before my baby arrived. It was an answer I didn’t want to hear that night and it became the most excruciating 16 hours of my life,” recalls Ndanga.

She and two others, Winnie Botha from Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and Capital FM’s Wezzie Nyirongo had taken up the sleepover challenge, an initiative aimed at raising funds for the 2017 Mother’s Fun Run in support of safe motherhood.

The sleepover challenge, an initiative under Nation Publications Limited (NPL), was designed for women executives to appreciate the challenges and harsh realities mothers face in public hospitals as a way of raising awareness.

As someone who has reported on maternal health, Botha said she appreciated the challenges faced by both health practitioners and women in public hospitals.

“Some expectant women walk long distances to get to the nearest health facility only to be welcomed by the shortage of resources. And that shortage is not just in typical rural areas; in Blantyre almost all health centers lack basic equipment,” she noted.

In her Chilomoni Health Centre experience, she could not help, but notice a hardworking nurse; alone on night duty without a clinician on call.

“She was monitoring 15 women in the pre-natal ward and five of them in labour. That night she delivered three babies. She had to monitor these women now and then, while others walked in during the night, also requiring her attention.

“In the labour ward, there were three unsuitable beds and mattresses. It was shocking to see ante-natal and post-natal cases admitted in one ward, making it too small. They need space to split the two cases,” she observed.

Blantyre district health officer Dr. Medson Matchaya acknowledged that Blantyre has a number of challenges because the present facilities were designed to cater for half the current population of the city.

“Blantyre has over 1.4 million people for facilities that were meant for about half the population. In some areas around Blantyre, women walk 10 kilometres to get to the nearest hospital. There is need to increase the numbers of health facilities,” he said.

The three women represented a grouping christened Women in Media.

In Blantyre alone, an average of 48 mothers and 648 babies die annually due to delivery related complications as per United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) 2016 data findings.

The post Media women taste maternity woes appeared first on The Nation Online.

]]>
http://mwnation.com/media-women-taste-maternity-woes/feed/ 1