Cooperazione Internazionale (Coopi)—an international organisation working with communities in fighting climate change and its impact—has said authors of various books should consider providing climate change information in local languages.
Speaking in an interview during the climate and weather information open day in Salima on Friday, Coopi’s disaster risk reduction focal point for Malawi, Aubrey Nyekanyeka, said despite several efforts to ensure everyone is well informed on climate issues, most people underutilise the information.
He said: “We have been on the ground and we have put in place several initiatives aimed at reaching the rural masses with climate information, but the challenge is that there is a big information gap. We can bridge the gap, but the challenge is that we rely on literature and most of it is in English. Most people in rural areas did not go far with education and can hardly read English text.”
He said the way to go is to ask those working on new literature to put it in local languages so that everyone can read. For the already existing literature, he suggested that it should be translated.
Said Nyekanyeka: “We also need to improve on the availability of literature in our libraries so that everyone has access to the textbooks apart from other information conveyed through the media and phones.”
Speaking at the same event, National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Trust librarian Martin Chibwana said if the literature is put in local languages, it will help chiefs to understand the issues and play the key role of disseminating the information at their forums.
He added that the books or leaflets in vernacular can be read and distributed during community forums.
Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services head of public weather services Elina Kululanga welcomed the call and said they are working along the same lines to ensure there is more available information on weather and climate.
She said they have automated their system and are using radios, libraries and smart phones to disseminate information across Malawi.
Said Kululanga: “We want to strengthen the working relationships with different players such as Coopi and Nice so that we can use their libraries to send weather updates and related literature for the communities they serve.”