Give us a brief background of yourself.
I was born November 20th 1989 in a Christian home. My mother is a nurse while my father and my sister are graduates of Bunda College of Agriculture and both work in agriculture-related fields. My sister has always been a guiding light for me. It is her hard-working spirit that motivates me and she keeps me pushing hard in life. I progressed with my education not sure of a career path that I would find satisfaction in. I wanted a career in law although it was somewhat influenced by aunt when I was in Standard One. Even though I had wanted to take her sister’s trail, I went to Chancellor College and enrolled for a Bachelor of Arts degree programme in Humanities with an English Literature major and a psychology minor which meant I could pursue a career in most fields. It took me a while to find a career that best fit me.
How did you end up in the agricultural sector?
I wanted to something challenging and gratifying. I didn’t just want to earn a living. I wanted to do something that could be making a difference to the people and to my country and to the world. Hopping from one short term job to another, I still mad use of the training and leadership development opportunities around me. It is for this reason that I was able to be part of the Leadership for Environment Programme—Lead in 2012. I got the inspiration to work in agriculture from the Lead programme and my sister’s work plus working in assisting research work for a lecturer at Bunda. This made me pay more attention to work in development, especially with environment and eventually, I started work with Nasfam in communications supporting the extension component of the organisation.
What does your work involve?
I am one of the young professionals in the agricultural extension championing new technologies in scaling up the extension. Through Nasfam, we champion the use of IT devices to create access to training videos for farmers. By developing the farmer training videos and publications, I scale up bright farming future for easy access to advisory services for farmers. I am currently part of advisory team of setting up Renofasa. This is regional network that scales up work in making weather information available to farmers in the two regions.
What fascinates you to champion agricultural work and information?
I am driven by the sole reminder that with much knowledge, we can do better as country. We can understand and care for our environment the way can and practise farming in a way that does not destroy other elements of the landscapes. I fully understand how much one is affected by lack of knowledge. In this case, not knowing how to involve good agricultural practices and not knowing why our natural resources are changing as they are. Even the Bible clearly states how God’s people get destroyed due to lack of knowledge.
Tell us about the world youth leaders for the Global Landscape Video award you recently won?
The Global Landscape Forum—-GLF is the biggest side event that happens alongside COP21. Within the GLF was the youth initiative where 50 youths were selected to work on five landscape challenges. When we talk of landscapes, we talk of elements regarding land, water, settlement and all living things connected so the videos were ranging from education, measuring success, financing, rights and tenure. For example, how do we equip professionals with the right skills and knowledge so they become professionals? In applying to be among the 50, we had to submit a video explaining about landscape challenges and possible solutions to them. With so many votes for my video, I was awarded youth innovator most popular video award. I won a leadership mentoring programme with Pamela Yieke of Award African Women in Agricultural Research and Development.
What did you highlight in the award winning video?
Based on Malawi perspective, it highlights lack of ownership for trees when planted in the communities which results in massive deforestation and soon they become inexistent mainly because are unaware of the importance of caring for the trees.
How relevant is the award you won to your career?
Pamela Yieke is a leadership mentoring coach who mentors young women in career development. It is an opening for future prospects and development in my career which should have an impact in my future duties of working with the Malawian smallholder farmers. I am yet to discuss and agree with Pamela on tentative dates on which the coaching sessions can be done. We are in touch at the moment and I believe it should be within the year.
How far do you want to go with your career?
I want to continue working with the Malawi Farmer in exploring as far as limits can exceed. I want to explore and develop new technologies in ICT for agriculture which is something we have not explored to its highest potential. I would also love to roll out more programmes to do with the youth in agriculture because at the moment the youth do not feel included in agricultural development. This will involve creation of a backbone in excelling work for youth in agriculture which will have to be attractive for the youth to realise the potential in agriculture. I believe as youth we don’t have to look for jobs any more, we have to create the jobs. Our agricultural resources can allow us to do that.
What are some of the challenges you encounter in the course of your work?
There are some Malawians who are not ready for change of mindsets in the agricultural profession. This is an obstacle in work in the progression of our country agriculture wise. In the course of my work as a woman, I sometimes not taken seriously while at times people’s expectations are different from the skills I have in my profession. I view these as challenges because in delivering my services with such mindset in people, I meet resistance. The best way, however, to overcome such obstacles is to know one’s goal and the targets set to achieve them. Someone once said to me that everyone can criticise but not everyone can do what you do so the best way to progress is to focus. When am focused I know much can come out and the productiveness I have set to achieve can materialise.
How do you spend your free time?
I am a member of the Capital City Leo Club which is a charitable organisation. I love singing at church and also travelling and sightseeing. I also spend time on reading and sampling new ideas on writing.
What is your word of advice to the youths?
The only way through is to keep moving. Do what you feel you are happy to do. Explore the existing potentials surrounding you and make use of every opportunity. You simply have to put one foot In front of the other and keep going. Put blinders on and plough right ahead. Take risks and if it doesn’t work, take another shot. Remember, there’s so much opportunity in agriculture, explore it.