29 March 2015
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Keeping young people occupied


President Mutharika listens as a lecturer at Ngara Commnunity Technical College (CTC) in Karonga explains how students assemble a motorcycle - Pic by Gospel Mwalwanda Lilongwe, March 29:  Asked separately how they had kept themselves occupied after leaving secondary school, one word was prominent in their responses: nothing. “I did nothing after I sat my MSCE [Malawi School Certificate Examinations],” said Jeffrey Ngwira, 24. “I wrote my MSCE in 2010 and did nothing afterwards,” said Zamiwe Lukhele, 25. “I just stayed at home, doing nothing,” replied 27-year-old Sarah Jalani. The trio’s responses mirrored the hopeless feelings of the thousands of youths all over Malawi who either roam the streets or stay idle at home for lack of jobs and training courses after leaving school. Malawi has been independent for five decades now, yet the country has not adequately addressed the ever growing problem of unemployment, with young people in the majority among the jobless. But there is hope that the thousands of youths who leave school each year will no longer idle their time away doing bad things, thanks to the newly introduced Community Technical Colleges (CTC) Programme. Government established the programme as a way of increasing access to Technical, Entrepreneurial and Vocational Education and Training (TEVET). The Ministry of Labour and Manpower Development is implementing the programme with technical support from TEVET Authority (TEVETA). The programme is targeting out-of-school youth and adults who fail to make it to formal TEVET due to limited capacity and restrictive entry requirements. A community college is a training institution whose educational facilities are available to youth and other members of the community, according to a concept paper on the establishment of the colleges. The colleges are expected to stop people in rural areas, the majority of whom have no employable skills, from migrating to towns and cities in search of the limited employment opportunities.      President Mutharika cuts a ribbon before unveiling a plaque at Ngara Community Technical College (CTU) in Karonga - Pic by Gospel Mwalwanda A brainchild of President Peter Mutharika, the CTC Programme aims to provide technical skills and also encourage entrepreneurship among the youth in a bid to tackle unemployment in Malawi. Mutharika himself officially launched the programme on March 20 at Ngara Community Technical College in Karonga where Ngwira, Lukhele and Jalani are now enrolled, pursuing different courses. “This programme will make a new chapter on the economy of this country,” Mutharika declared when he addressed thousands of people who converged on Ngara Primary School to witness the launch.  He said the programme was particularly important because since Malawi attained independence, the country never had such an initiative to address employment and poverty issues. “As a result, 50 years after independence, Malawi is still struggling to develop and break the various cycles of endemic poverty,” Mutharika said. “CTC provide communities with a way out of boredom and aimless idling for young men and women who have finished school but who for one reason or another were unable to get into university.” Government will initially build 28 community technical colleges--one in each district--before rolling out in all the 193 constituencies of the country.   Malawi has only seven national technical colleges--Soche, Lilongwe, Mzuzu, Salima, Nasawa, Don Bosco and Namitete that have a total enrolment capacity of not more than 2,000 students. Each year, 50, 000 young men and women qualify for MSCE but cannot all access tertiary education. With just seven national technical colleges, Malawi is said to have the least number of people accessing TEVET in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. President Mutharika, officials and students of Ngara Community Technical College (CTC) pose for a group photograph - Pixcby Gospel Mwalwanda As there has always been a scramble for the limited places at the few national technical colleges, the youth say they are more than grateful to the country’s leadership for introducing the CTC Programme. They say the colleges will stop them from getting into mischief as they will be kept occupied most of the time, working hard to carve out their chosen vocational careers to ensure a bright future. And the 120 students at Ngara Community College, which stands a stone’s throw away from the fresh waters of Lake Malawi, say they owe a debt of gratitude to Mutharika for starting the programme. “I am at a loss for words how to thank Mutharika for coming up with such a brilliant idea to help youth who stay idle,” said Ngwira, who sat his MSCE in 2012 and is doing a motorcycle mechanics course. He initially wanted to be a soldier, but as misfortune would have it, he was not picked when he went for recruitment interviews the same year he completed his secondary education. “So I just stayed idle at my village. Sometimes, I worked the land, and at times became a butcher,” he said. “You then can understand when I say I can’t find the right words to thank government with.”  “I was very happy when I was picked. When I finish my course, I will set up my own garage at Uliwa as there are many motorcycle taxis there. It is time I led an independent life.” Lukhele said before she started her textile and design [tailoring] course at the college, she stayed home doing nothing from 2010 when she finished secondary education in the City of Mzuzu. “I wanted to be a nurse, but the opportunity never came my way to go to a nursing school. After I finished school, I was kept by my father’s brother in Mzuzu,” she said. “I am very happy to be here.”  “I was selected after attending interviews. The course is progressing well and when I am through, I will open my own tailoring shop at home. We all feel indebted to President Mutharika.” Jalani, a Junior Certificate holder who could not continue schooling after the death of her father, said hope for her future had been rekindled now that she was enrolled at the technical college. “My two siblings and I all had to rely on our mother when our father died,” said Jalani, the only female in her carpentry and joinery class. “It was too much a responsibility for her to shoulder alone.” “I eventually quit school and just stayed at home with nothing to do. When I finish my course, I will first work in government before starting my own business. Government has rescued us.” Ngara Community College opened its doors on 19 January 2015 and offers six courses ---carpentry and joinery, fabrication and welding, motorcycle mechanics, textile and design, bricklaying and plumbing. College Principal Daniel Kamanga said the launch of the programme at Ngara by Mutharika himself demonstrated the importance that government attached to technical education. “Many people [here] were not taking technical education seriously,” Kamanga, who has a Bachelor’s Degree in technical education, told MANA. “This will change with the launch of the programme here.” The well attended launching ceremony drew people from all walks of life not just from Karonga, but all over Malawi. They included senior traditional leaders and politicians from the opposition. Malawi National Assembly Speaker, Richard Msowoya, who is also MP for Karonga Nyungwe Constituency, thanked government for establishing a community technical college in the district. “When someone gives you a school, know that that person loves you,” Msowoya, of the main opposition Malawi Congress Party in whose constituency the college is located, said in his speech.   “With this programme, the youth will be responsible citizens. The college may be small, yet it will have many benefits. No person in their right mind can be angry if a leader comes with this kind of project.” Paramount Chief Kyungu of Karonga also spoke in praise of the CTC programme. He said if Malawi had introduced it at independence in 1964, the country would have developed a lot. “Other countries have developed because of this type of college,” Chief Kyungu said in his speech. “Let us all stop politicking and unite to help government fulfill its development agenda.” It is no secret that Malawians seem to have a penchant for office jobs. Many graduates from the country’s universities opt to look for white collar-jobs that match their perceived high social status. But President Mutharika does not agree with such type of mentality. He said if Malawi had failed to achieve meaningful development despite being independent for years, it was because of such thinking. Mutharika, who lived and worked in the USA for many years, said he believed that technical and vocation jobs could propel the nation to prosperity, as some countries in Europe and Asia had proven. He said the establishment of the community colleges programme was a call to all Malawians to change their mindset and recognize that it was not only white collar-jobs that would develop our country. “Countries such as German, India, China, Japan, England, the USA and others have become industrial powers because they have emphasized skills development as a priority,” Mutharika said.  “For Malawi to be transformed from a predominantly consuming and importing country to a predominantly producing and exporting one, we need the expertise to manufacture products and add value to our agricultural commodities for export.” He lamented the fact that Malawi was spending a lot its hard-earned foreign exchange importing products that could be easily manufactured locally. “As long as we continue to spend our foreign exchange resources to import items such as furniture, we will continue to drift in economic mire,” Mutharika told the Ngara gathering.
“Community technical colleges will empower our people with the relevant skills required to manufacture top quality products that can compete on the international market.”


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Police step up security during Easter season


Security stepped up foe Easter - File Photo Blantyre, March 29: The Malawi Police Service in the southern region have stepped up security in the region to minimize criminal activities during the Easter period. In an interview with the Malawi News Agency (Mana), Southern Region Police Publicist, Nicholas Gondwa said as the nation was approaching celebrations to mark Easter season, many robbers take advantage to steal people's property in homes under different guises. He assured the general public that the security body had deployed security officers everywhere to conduct day and night patrols to maximise security. “Currently, our uniformed and civilian officers, some with arms, are all over tightening up security ahead and during the Easter season to make sure people's lives and property are safe,”  Gondwa said. He said the traffic department had also stepped up its work to reduce the number of accidents that might occur during the season.  “Our traffic department will continue monitoring the fitness of vehicles on our roads to reduce accidents which occur during such periods. “As part of celebrations, many people drink and drive recklessly. However, our traffic police officers will make sure that people who contravene traffic regulations are brought before the law,” Gondwa said. Easter is one of the important periods among Christians, marked by processions and church services in remembrance of the tribulations as well as resurrection of Jesus Christ.


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Every Child handover office block to Mzimba Police

Mzimba, March 29: Every Child Malawi on Thursday donated a K12 million office structure to Mzimba police at Bulala in the area of Traditional Authority Chindi to serve as a police unit in the area. The donation comes at a time when Every Child is about to phase out their projects in all their working districts in Malawi by March 31 this year. Speaking after the donation, Northern Region Commissioner of Police, Demster Chigwenembe, hailed Every Child for the gesture, noting that people of Bulala were facing a number of challenges in matters of security. He said the area registered a high number of robberies such as cattle rustling, among other criminal activities. He said the setting up of a police unit in Bulala would therefore help reduce such offences and restore peace among the locals. “People of Bulala were traveling a distance of 48 kilometres to refer suspects to Mzimba Police, which was difficult. But with this police unit, we believe criminal occurrences within this locality will be dealt with,” said Chigwenembe. He also observed that being the country’s largest district, Mzimba needed more police units to shorten distances that people travel when referring suspects to Mzimba Police Station. He asked the community to work together with the police in the area. He said the community and police officers needed to work together to combat crime. Also speaking during the hand-over ceremony, country director for Every Child, Brussels Mughogho, said his organization thought it wise to give back to the community after nine years of cordial working relationship in the area. He said he was optimistic that the police unit would help to bring down crime in the area. During the nine years of project implementation in Bulala, Every Child has managed to reduce child marriages from 77 per cent to four per cent which Mughogho said was a great achievement. He also revealed that as part of its exiting strategy and ensuring sustainability of its activities in the area, the organization had also donated K4 million to four community-based organizations  of Chanyama, Chiseng’ezi, Malinyete and Bulala. We thought of making a legacy grant to our CBOs as one way of sustaining our programmes in this area. We believe that the money is going to help in uplifting the welfare of children,” Mughogho said. Director of Planning and Development for M’mbelwa District Council, Tamanya Harawa, commended Every Child for the gesture and urged other non- governmental organizations working in the district to emulate the same.


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President Mutharika arrives in Ethiopia for COMESA Summit


An Ethiopian official welcomes President Mutharika on arrival at Bole International Airport - Pic by Abel Ikiloni Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, March 28: President Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika arrived in Ethiopia Saturday to attend the 18th Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Summit. Mutharika will join other heads of state and government to discuss issues affecting the continent’s development. The President who was accompanied by the First lady Madame Gertrude Mutharika, was welcomed at Bole International Airport by Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister George Chaponda and Minister of Industry and Trade Joseph Mwanamveka, who were already in Addis Ababa for other meetings that feed into the main summit. Malawian ambassador Designate to Ethiopia Chimango Chirwa, Malawi High Commissioner to Zambia and COMESA David Bandawe, as well as Ethiopian senior government officials together with COMESA secretariat were also at the airport to welcome President Mutharika. Foreign Affairs Minister George Chaponda welcomes President Mutharika as Malawi Ambassador Chirwa looks on - Pic by Abel Ikiloni From the airport, President Mutharika and the first lady left for Sheraton Hotel, where they were presented with a garland of flowers by Rose Msowoya and Emmanuel Chinyama. Welcoming the President at Sheraton Hotel was Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Patricia Kaliati, Malawi delegation to COMESA and Members of the Addis Ababa Mission and their spouses. The Comesa summit, whose theme is: “Inclusive and Sustainable Industrialization” is expected to attract 19 Heads of State and Government from east and southern Africa. On Monday, the President and the First lady will attend a State Banquet hosted by the Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia His Excellency Hailemariam Desalegn. The President will also hold bilateral meetings at the African Union Headquarters. President Mutharika in the VIP loungue with an Ethiopian official - Pic by Abel Ikiloni The summit will comprise nine sessions, including Administrative and budget committee meeting, Ministers of foreign affairs meeting, Business forum meeting, and First ladies roundtable meeting, among others. The first ladies roundtable meeting will discuss the prevailing challenges women entrepreneurs are facing in the COMESA region and propose possible solutions. The summit is also expected to discuss peace and security in the sub-region and seek solutions to the challenges as well as address key issues of negotiation on economic partnership agreement with Europe Union (EU). The summit will also discuss last year’s achievements and progress made by COMESA and look into the implementation status of the various relevant COMESA agreements. On Friday, the 20th of March saw the commencement of the 34th Meeting of Administrative and Budgetary matters addressing the COMESA budget with focus on Member States assessed contributions. Progress on the acquisition of a machine readable travel document for COMESA staff was presented. The Intergovernmental Committee Meeting brought together Permanent Secretaries and Principal Secretaries from Ministries responsible for COMESA matters or regional integration in the Member States. In the three days of closed meeting, the Committee handled the bulk of work of the policy organs.

The Council of Ministers also convened on 26 and 27th March 2015 to usher in the 18th Heads of States and Government’s Summit which will kick-off on Monday (30 March, 2015) and expected to end on Tuesday (31st March 2015). The First Couple being presented with garland of Flowers at Sheraton Hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - Pic by Abel Ikiloni  Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia Hailemarim Desalegn will take over the chairmanship from Prime Minister Joseph Kabila of Congo to serve as chairperson until the next summit  COMESA was formed in December 1994 to replace the former Preferential Trade Area (PTA) which had existed from the earlier days of 1981. It was established as an organization of free independent sovereign states which agreed to co-operate in developing their natural and human resources for the good of all. The 19 countries of COMESA include Malawi, Burundi, Comoros, DR Congo, Djibout, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia , Zimbabwe, Libya and Madagascar. Comesa is a regional economic community with an estimated population of about 600 million and a combined GDP of close to US$1 trillion. It is Africa’s largest regional trade bloc. Zimbabwe and Malawi recently launched the Comesa simplified trade regime as a means of facilitating and formalizing small scale trade between the two countries. Mutharika told the press earlier in the day on departure at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in Lilongwe before departure that the summit was of particular importance to Malawi because “we are going to discuss how we can enhance industrialization and expand our markets within the COMESA region.” He said that at the two-day conference, he was expected to deliver his maiden speech in which he would outline initiatives that Malawi had put in place in efforts to enhance industrialization. The President was seen off by Vice President Saulos Chilima and a host of government ministers and other senior officials. He is expected to return to Malawi on Wednesday.


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North Malawi Police nab 94 in SADC sweeping exercise


Chapola: Exercise is conducted quarterly in all the SADC countries - File Photo Mzuzu, Match 28: Police in the northern region have netted 94 people suspected to have committed various crimes in a sweeping exercise which, they say, is also being conducted across the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. Northern Region Police publicist Maurice Chapola told Mana the exercise, codenamed Operation Tengula, is conducted quarterly in all the SADC countries. “Some have been arrested in Nkhata Bay for having medical drugs without license while others for being found with Indian hemp. In Rumphi, we have arrested somebody for possessing a firearm without license. “We have also managed to recover a motor bike in Ekwendeni. With these arrests, we hope crime will be reduced in the north,” Chapola said. He said the exercise started this week and was on-going and that police were expecting more arrests. The police have since appealed to members of the general public to tip them on any suspicious happenings in their areas. “Security is no longer the preserve of those in uniform. Everyone has a noble responsibility to assist the police in curbing crime,” Chapola said. Currently, the 94 suspects are in various district police stations and will be charged with different offences.


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Keeping young people occupied

Police step up security during Easter season

Every Child handover office block to Mzimba Police

President Mutharika arrives in Ethiopia for COMESA Summit

North Malawi Police nab 94 in SADC sweeping exercise

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Police step up security during Easter season

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Mzimba, March 29: Every Child Malawi on Thursday donated a K12 million office structure to Mzimba police at Bulala in the area of Traditional Authority Chindi to serve as a police unit in the area. The donation comes at a time wh...

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Every Child handover office block to Mzimba Police

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Mzimba, March 29: Every Child Malawi on Thursday donated a K12 million office structure to Mzimba police at Bulala in the area of Traditional Authorit...

North Malawi Police nab 94 in SADC sweeping exercise

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Chapola: Exercise is conducted quarterly in all the SADC countries - File Photo Mzuzu, Match 28: Police in the northern region have netted 94 peopl...

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Features

Keeping young people occupied

Keeping young people occupied

President Mutharika listens as a lecturer at Ngara Commnunity Technical College (CTC) in Karonga explains how students assemble a motorcycle - Pic by Gospel Mwalwanda Lilongwe, March 29:  Asked separately how they had kept themselves occupied after leaving secondary school, one word was prominent...

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"You must not fight too often fight with one enemy, or you will teach him all your art of war"

 

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