UNFPA unleashes Nthambi cartoon today

The United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency has released an animated series personifying agonies of Malawian girls carrying a baby before the marriageable age. UNFPA resident representative Won Young Hong will today unveil the character, christened Nthambi, in time for the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) slated for November 12 to 14…

Lessons from coal rails

Families living on graphite-rich clay in Malingunde, Lilongwe, have learnt from communities along Vale Logistics’ railway in Mwanza what not to do with money for resettlement. Sovereign Metals plans to clear 108 homesteads in the plain almost 15 kilometres southwest of the capital city. The first phase targets nine households in Kumalindi Village where an…

UN experts for coal-free future

As Malawi switches to coal seams to boost its on-off electricity supply, experts have warned that this is not a smart investment for the  future. Speaking in a web conference on Thursday from United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York, Sustainable Energy for All chief executive officer Rachel Kyte said: “Coal isn’t part of the…

Buried in e-waste, Malawi gasps for way out

In most trading centres across Malawi, heaps of unusable electronic devices noiselessly signpost passers-by to the repairers. The stockpiles also mirror the country’s struggle to sustainably shed and shred the electronic gadgets that cannot be used any longer. As the country grapples to manage waste its rapidly growing population churns out, electronics repairers’ shops have…

Girls biking to learn

At Konzere in Chikwawa, it is not uncommon to see a teen girl with a baby saddling on her back. The sun-scorched village in Traditional Authority Ngabu personifies Malawi’s struggle to keep girls in school, with nearly a third of adolescents carrying pregnancies and half of women marrying before their 18th birthday. However, there is…

Families on graphite rocks

It is 5.10pm and Zaliyele Yesaya, 65, is selling petrol to motorcyclists shuttling on a dusty road that splits Kumalindi Village, almost15 kilometres southwest of Lilongwe City. The farmer faces an uncertain future as his three-bedroom house is linked with demolition as it sits on rocks containing a mineral used for making dry cells that…

850 soldiers ready for DRC challenge

The Malawi Defence Force (MDF) has completed training 850 peacekeepers destined for eastern Democratic Republic of Congo this month. The 11th Malawi Battalion, code-named ‘Malabatt 11’, leaves for the war-torn country after undergoing two-month combat drills supported by British and American instructors. The troops will replace a battle group that came under intense enemy fire…

Revised mining law misses May target

The Malawi Government is racing against time to reap the benefits of the revised Mines and Minerals Act, having failed to activate the law before the May 21 Tripartite Elections. Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining has come under fire for delaying to gazette the law Parliament passed last December. But director of mines…

High-yielding rice for dry times

Rice yields in Malawi keep dwindling as rainy months get fewer. For farmers surrounding the wetlands, the shrinking rainy season, with recurrent dry spells and prolonged droughts, deepen hunger and poverty. “The rains have become so unpredictable that farming is fruitless without flooding,” says Patricia Kiyelu. “The short rainy season mean a long, penniless struggle…

Stopping Aids before it kills

It is 11.20am when we venture into the snaky corridors of Nsanje District Hospital, formerly a refugee camp for Mozambicans who fled civil war in the 1970s. It is sweltering in the border district’s largest health facility, where a tuberculosis patient concealed as Moira is readmitted to the emergency bay of a newly refurbished female…

Mental illness is no barrier

Blessings Chipeta wants you to know that it is exhausting to fight a war inside your head every day, but you cannot catch mental illness by being kind. “Mental illness is like malaria or any other disease. If you seek treatment on time, it’s not the end of life,” says the 27-year-old, from Ekwendeni in…

1.4m biking dangerously

Urban dwellers mostly define transportation in terms of engine power. But the greatest share of personal needs are met by human power or pedal work, our Staff Writer JAMES CHAVULA writes. For Dafter Mofolo, a bicycle is a convenient alternative to walking to his job than shelling over two thirds of his pay on minibus…

Nsanje women’s  ward gets facelift

Doctors without Borders on Wednesday handed over a rapid screening unit and refurbished the female ward at Nsanje District Hospital. The rapid HIV testing unit will accelerate the assessment of persons living with HIV. The facility has assisted about 400 advanced Aids cases since January. Some of them are admitted to the 29-bed ward which…

Mkango rare earth mine to open in 2024

  Mkango Resources Limited, a mining firm exploring rare earths at Songwe Hills in Phalombe, has unveiled plans to start extracting the minerals by 2024. The Australian Stock Exchange (ASX)-listed mining firm, has been exploring the prospects of extracting the minerals used in making mobile phones and computer accessories since 2010, forcing hillside communities to…

Averting Lake Chilwa’s new low

Malawi’s Man and Biosphere (MAB) committee oversees conservation efforts in the hugely deforested Mulanje Mountain and Lake Chilwa, a wetland which run dry last year. In this interview, our Staff Writer JAMES CHAVULA asks Unesco Commission acting deputy executive secretary David Mulera on strides to strengthen the committee’s efforts and save the inland lake from…

United for girls and women

Sexual attacks and gender-based against women and girls in Malawi put them at risk of HIV infection. At worst, some cases involve adolescents the size of a girl disguised as Misozi in compliance with child protection laws. In Malunda Village, a banana-growing locality at the heart of Traditional Authority Njema in Mulanje, tongues are still…

Malaria vaccine on trial

It’s World Malaria Day. Our Staff Writer JAMES CHAVULA unpacks malaria vaccines on trial in 11 districts. It is a warm evening and you are having a mealtime chat with your family. All looks pleasant as you unwind from a busy day, probably listening to soothing music or news. Suddenly, there is a piercing sound…

Delivering hope in crowded camps

Miriam Demba is expecting her third baby at Mileme Camp in Phalombe. She is among 125 000 Malawians displaced by devastating floods in 14 districts. “Last month, it rained ceaselessly for two days. On March 8, we heard screams of people escaping rising water in the night. We joined in. By sunrise, Nankhalamba Village was…

Coordinate floods response

The United Nations (UN) resident coordinator Maria Jose Torres Macho has asked organisations to leave no one behind in the emergency response to devastating effects of heavy rains that displaced 125 000 people three weeks ago. She was responding to concerns of uneven distribution of relief items as thousands of flood survivors in some remote…