Friday, 29 September 2017

UNICEF hands 33 motorcycles to Malawi

Kasaila (left) shakes hands with Unicef's Kimanzi Muthengi at the ceremony at BNS

Functional literacy and complementary basic education instructors working under the UN Joint Programme on Girls Education (UNJPGE) will have their mobility challenges eased following the handing over of 33 Yamaha motorcycles to Malawi by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) at the Bingu National Stadium (BNS) Thursday September 28, 2017.

Speaking when he received the motorcycles on behalf of his ministry, Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development Francis Kasaila thanked UNICEF for the timely intervention, noting that government cannot provide all resources on its own but relies on such partners. Kasaila also urged other development partners to emulate UNICEF’s gesture.
Minister Kasaila trying it out

Kasaila pointed out that the functional literacy and complementary basic education programme targets adolescent girls who seek a second chance at education and is consistent with both medium term goals under the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy II and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) spirit of leaving no one behind.

The donation is meant to “enhance literacy and numeracy of adolescent girls, most of whom drop out of school before they attain literacy”, said Mr. Patrick Chakholoma, who spoke on behalf of UNICEF.

According to Chakholoma, the nine-month-long functional literacy programme, which has modules such as nutrition, health and hygiene, “empowers the adolescents to be useful citizens in the society”.

The complementary basic education programme seeks to enable girls to attain literacy and numeracy over three years after which they can rejoin school in standard 5.

The programme is being implemented in the districts of Dedza, Salima and Mangochi by Nchalo-based nongovernmental organisation Adolescent Girls Literacy Plus (AGLIT+) and has reached over 30,000 adolescent girls, largely teen mothers, with various forms of educational and life skills empowerment.

Over the past two years, UNICEF has also provided three vehicles to the programme implementation districts, three to the ministry headquarters and three that are used by three different implementing agencies and partners.

The functional literacy and complementary basic education programmes have over the years led to significant transformation in the lives of the participating adolescents, some of whom have even gone further to pursue university education.
Ready to go places: The A4AY-branded motorcycles that Unicef has donated to Malawi.
The programme is earmarked for scaling up in the next few years and would reach up to the districts of Chitipa and Likoma, according to Kimanzi Muthengi of UNICEF. 

Youth Minister Kasaila engages Youth Council

Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development minister Mr. Francis Kasaila Thursday 28 September, 2017 met with National Youth Council of Malawi (NYCOM) staff at the Bingu wa Mutharika International Convention Center (BICC) in Lilongwe in the first interaction between the two sides since the Minister was appointed to his current portfolio.

Speaking following presentations from the Youth Council, the Minister observed that the empowerment drive for the youth had not been sustainable so far, which has seen youth receding back to square one even when functional interventions had targeted them.

Kasaila agreed with the plea for more speedy efforts in reviewing the National Youth Council of Malawi Act (1996), lamenting that there were a lot of people that, taking advantage of the aged law, have sought their own benefits other than targeting the youth.

Youth Minister Francis Kasaila (seated, centre) poses with ministry officials and NYCOM staff 

“It would be better to have a few organisations that are focused on their work than having three thousand that only seek to benefit their directors,” he said.

He promised to take up the matter to ensure that the Act is reviewed soon.

Kasaila said he was pleased that the Council had even reflected on and highlighted the working relationship between his Ministry and the Council in which reporting and policy interaction ought to thrive in driving the agenda of the youth and shaping the future of the National Youth Council.

The Minister also hinted that the Board of Directors would be in place soon, saying his Ministry will try its best to get people who are truly committed to the youth cause and are able to do the work they are expected to do other than just looking for tokens. The Youth Council has not had a Board of Directors since November 10 last year when the mandate of the previous board expired.

Kasaila also said there was need for the Council to generate innovative ideas on how to locally generate resources for the programmes it seeks to implement before going to donors, saying if the Council demonstrates leadership in resource mobilisation, the others would see the need to follow.

Noting that most donors are not forthcoming in supporting infrastructure but software, Kasaila said his ministry would explore ways of identifying opportunities for the construction of the Achinyamata Centre, an ambitious multipurpose youth development centre vision eluded by a software-oriented donor and private sector community.

He also noted that most youth organisations that are active are in that state based on some projects and they die out when the funding dries out and constantly shift focus areas depending on where the money is.

The Minister also said there was need to enhance “the human capacity of the Council so that it can effectively monitor and regulate the youth organisations, and I will not hesitate to deregister those that prove not to work for the benefit of the youth.”

Kasaila also said the Council should be able to come to the Ministry and provide proposals on the best ways of effectively targeting the youth both by the Ministry and its sister ministries, commending the Council for taking the initiative to interface with his Ministry.

“Our focus should be on how we can help the youth out there. There would be individuals or organisations that would want to use us for selfish reasons. We may have challenges as a country but those challenges are not meant to make us fight each other but rather motivate us to find solutions,” said Kasaila.

Kasaila’s meeting with the Council came weeks after Presidential Advisor on Youth Affairs Simon Vuwa Kaunda visited the Council on a familiarisation tour.

Earlier, the Council had made presentations highlighting its programmes, strategic direction and approved reform areas under the public service reforms initiative being championed by the government of Malawi. 

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Vuwa visits Youth Council

It was one extremely rare high-profile visit of a government official of such standing in years, and staff were most certainly excited to have someone from the President's circle of advisers demonstrate interest to get fully acquainted with the Council's business. 

All smiles: Mr. Symon Vuwa Kaunda flanked by NYCOM officials as others stand in the background

Recently appointed Presidential Adviser on Youth and Sports Affairs Symon Vuwa Kaunda on Monday September 4, 2017 paid a familiarisation visit to the National Youth Council of Malawi secretariat.

"I saw it fit, having been appointed as Presidential Adviser, to come for courtesy to the National Youth Council since you are the institution that coordinates all youth associations and organisations in the country," said Mr. Vuwa Kaunda as he introduced himself to the keenly listening staff in the Council's board room.

During the visit, Mr. Vuwa Kaunda was briefed by staff on the work that the Council is doing, the spectrum of programming and the challenges being encountered in both programming and operations.

Among other things, positive and negative, the meeting revealed that the Council has been facing a number of challenges relating to the implementation of reforms approved under the Public Sector Reforms agenda that the government is championing. 

The Council's management and staff indicated that there were challenges in the operational end enabling environments that hampered the progress of the reforms agenda, including the absence of key decision-making persons both at the Secretariat and in the Board of Directors, a situation which had also affected resource-mobilisation drive for the Council. 

It was indicated during the meeting, however, that staff at the Council had opted to explore partnership-building as the most plausible way of mobilising technical support under the current circumstances.

Earlier, in welcoming the Presidential Adviser, Finance and Administration Officer Thembeka Chide expressed the collective happiness among staff to be honoured with the visit.

Kaunda's visit was perhaps a needed morale booster, and his remarks hinted on a number of positives to be expected from his office.

"I am hopeful that you shall have your Board of Directors and Executive Director soon," said Vuwa, as he is popularly known, of the two critical structures that have been vacant for almost eleven months now. 

The visit comes following his appointment by State President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika to the said adviser role in the past few weeks. The position has for the past three years been occupied by former Member of Parliament Wictor Songazaudzu Sajeni.

Mr. Vuwa Kaunda twice served as Minister for Youth and Sports during the leadership of departed President Bingu wa Mutharika. His recent appointment is expected to benefit from his experience in youth and sports as he takes on the mammoth yet hugely undermined task of influencing top-level direction in meaningful youth development.

Friday, 11 August 2017



“Youth Building Peace: The Role of Youth in Population, Health, Environment, Skills Development and Entrepreneurship”

The International Youth Day (IYD), celebrated on 12th August each year, was launched by the United Nations in 2000 as a means of raising awareness of issues affecting young people around the world. IYD commemorations are usually characterized by the coming together of different stakeholders including the youth, the government, youth organizations and development partners to pursue the common purpose outlined in that year’s themes. Over the years, Malawi has also taken steps to ensure the IYD is opened up as a platform for advocacy on active youth participation and on key issues affecting the youth.

This year, the International Youth Day will be commemorated under the global theme Youth Building Peace. The theme of peace is of relevance to Malawi considering the effects that internal conflicts at different levels have on society and its members. The theme also comes within the context of efforts to establish a national peace structure whose impact would permeate all society.

In addition, Malawi is a youthful nation: about 80% of its population is aged below 35 years with 75% being below 30 years old. This necessitates engagement and inclusion of youth in decision-making processes and meaningful participation in the development agenda. Malawi has recently taken steps to establish a national peace structure with youth not being left out. Participation structures have been established at national, regional and district levels, with youth integrally forming part of the same. This results from the realization that youth are usually agents of violence and their participation in the peace processes is, therefore, critical.

This year’s main IYD commemoration in Malawi will be held on 21st August, 2017 at Manika Ground in Balaka District. The Population Champion and Founder of the Beautify Malawi Trust (BEAM), Her Excellency the First Lady of Malawi, Dr. Gertrude Mutharika, will be Guest of Honour. Prior to this event, the Ministry in collaboration with the National Youth Council and other stakeholders have planned a “Youth Expo” which will take place on Saturday, 12th August, 2017 at the Kamuzu Institute for Sports starting from 08:30 am. The “Youth Expo” has been organized to provide a platform for young people to display their innovative ideas and activities. In the afternoon, young people be engaged in various sporting activities and performances. Later in mid-September, the prize presentation ceremony for the Ngwazi Zazikazi Story Competition will take place at Salima Technical College as a post-IYD event. The Ngwazi Zazikazi Story Competition is an initiative to celebrate and promote girls and women’s participation in jobs that are predominantly male dominated.

The events will be celebrated under the theme of “Youth Building Peace: The Role of Youth in Population, Health, Environment, Skills Development and Entrepreneurship”. The theme seeks to highlight the important role that young people can play in curbing rapid population growth, addressing environment issues, and efforts and challenges in the provision of skills and enterprise development among young people as catalysts for maintaining peace in Malawi.

The impact that youth can have in the pursuance of peace cannot be overemphasised. The existence of conflicts may thrive on a population that is too large for the existing resources, leading to the disruption of key processes, facilities and opportunities for health and skills development. Youth present the country with an opportunity if they choose to participate in building peaceful, progressive societies.  Investing in the youth and empowering them with life skills and technical and entrepreneurial skills means that they will be able to stand assertively contend for a peaceful society that gives room for their further growth. Such youths will, resultantly, be critical for maintaining good health, population management through reduced fertility and the eco-friendly pursuit of further skills both for themselves and their communities.

The organising committee for these events invites and encourages all Malawians to participate in these commemorations. All youth and other stakeholders are also encouraged to commemorate and the International Youth Day in various forms in their respective communities.





National Youth Council of Malawi (NYCOM) would like to notify the general public, organisations and institutions that it has received complaints that there are some unscrupulous individuals visiting or sending letters to companies and organisations requesting support for 2017 International Youth Day (IYD) commemorations and purporting to be working with the Council in pursuit of the said purpose.

The letters going around portray the picture that the bearers of the letter are working in collaboration with National Youth Council of Malawi in organising the IYD slated for 12 August, 2017 at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe. The letter also requests ‘well wishers’ to channel financial resources to NYCOM’s account (Standard Bank, City Centre Branch, Savings Account Number 0121202933100). The bank account cited is only used for collection of affiliation fees from NYCOM members and is by no means meant to collect money from unsuspecting stakeholders. NYCOM did not plan and has not sought to mobilise financial resources in the manner described above for purposes of the IYD. While NYCOM does at times seek support from other stakeholders interested in youth development, it does so through credible official channels and properly headed letters. The unscrupulous individuals have further indicated the name of one of NYCOM’s officers as a contact person without his consent or knowledge.

NYCOM would like to distance itself from the aforementioned resource mobilisation drive. Stakeholders and the general public are informed that the Council was never at any point involved in the development of the concept and budget being used for the said resource mobilisation. On the contrary, NYCOM is, together with the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development, coordinating activities for the IYD in which several stakeholders, not just, are involved, as per normal practice. The main IYD commemoration will take place at Manika Ground in Balaka on 21st August, 2017 with a pre-event “Youth Expo” slated for 12 August, 2017 at the Kamuzu Institute for Youth. Another post-IYD event, the prize presentation for the Ngwazi Zazikazi Story Competition, will take place later in September.

Stakeholders and the general public are therefore warned to avoid falling prey to the scam which, in some cases, has taken coercive forms, including attempts to cunningly extort resources from the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development. NYCOM is, therefore, encouraging all companies and organisations and the general public to verify with the Council through it’s the office of the Executive Director in the event that they received any suspicious communication. The people behind this malicious scam have already been warned against continued use of NYCOM’s name, or the name of the parent Ministry, for their ulterior ends. Further action shall also be taken, including officially seeking legal remedies.

Should any institution continue to be approached by the aforesaid fraudsters, please contact NYCOM through the Finance and Administration Officer, Ms. Thembeka Chide, through email or cell phone 0888550654. You can also contact the Deputy Director of Youth in the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development Mrs. Judith Msusa on 0999416564.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Internship Opportunity: Programme Associate


The National Youth Council of Malawi is a Statutory Corporation of the Republic of Malawi established under the National Youth Council of Malawi Act (No. 22 of 1996)The Council is mandated to register youth organisations, and to coordinate, promote and regulate youth work in Malawi as well as responsible for facilitation and implementation of programmes that promote health and development of young people in the country. The National Youth Council is an umbrella body for all the registered youth organisations in Malawi. 
The National Youth Council of Malawi is currently inviting applications for internship positions of Program Associate – Youth Participation and Empowerment (YPE) tenable at the National Youth Council of Malawi Secretariat in Lilongwe.    


Internship Position: Program Associate – Youth Participation and Empowerment (YPE) (2)
Reporting to: Program Officer – Youth Participation and Empowerment (YPE)
Duration: 6 Months  

At NYCOM, we do not consider our interns as errand persons but as a critical member of the team. The interns will be expected to provide effective support in planning and implementation of youth participation and economic empowerment activities and programs.

Required Attributes 
      Strong willed,
      Aged not more than 25 years,
      Academic qualification in Business Administration, Social Sciences, Humanities, or related fields from an accredited institution of higher learning, 
      Ability to learn and master new operations quickly, 
      Proactive, creative, analytical and strategic thinking aptitude, 
      Good writing, communication, facilitation, interpersonal and team-work skills, 
      Multitasking and good time management abilities, 
      Ability to work with minimum supervision and under pressure to meet tight deadlines, 
      Skills in computer applications - (MS Word, Excel, Power Point)
      Willingness to travel across Malawi, 
      Fluency in Chichewa and English.

Mode of Application
An application letter (not more than 1 page) and Curriculum Vitae (not more than 2 pages) addressed to The Executive Director, National Youth Council of Malawi, P/Bag 389, Lilongwe, should be submitted by hand or through email to by close of business Friday, 7th April, 2017. 

Please take note that this is unpaid position, however, the intern will be given monthly stipend to cover the cost of transport and lunch. 

NYCOM is an equal opportunity employer.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Youth Council, Partners commemorate Women’s Day, Launch five-month story competition

The National Youth Council of Malawi (NYCOM) and some of its partners joined the rest of the country and the world in commemorating the International Women’s Day (IWD) on Friday, 10 March, 2017, at Mponera Community Technical College in Dowa district.

The IWD falls on 8 March, and was this year commemorated under the international theme “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50:50 by 2030”. Malawi however localised the international theme to “Closing the Gender Gap in the World of Work by 2030”.  This day was set aside by the United Nations to promote women’s rights and participation in political, social and economic environment. The theme notes some of the gender gaps that currently exist in the employment, education and other various sectors.

A cross-section of people attending the IWD commemoration in at Mponera Community Technical College, Dowa
The event involved the participation of the Technical, Vocational and Entrepreneurial Training Authority (TEVETA), some government ministries and youth groups in Dowa district. The commemoration was supported financially and technically by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) through its Skills and Technical Education Programme (STEP) currently being implemented in the country.

The event was conducted in two different sessions: the morning session involving an empowerment and motivation talks for in and out of school female youths and practical sessions in tailoring, welding, plumbing, carpentry and bricklaying, technical fields that are customarily dominated by males. The afternoon session involved community interaction among the pupils from primary and secondary schools, students from the technical college and members of the community.

Brick and mortar: Secondary school pupils trying out their bricklaying skills
In the morning session, the secondary and primary school pupils received motivation talks from current technical and vocational college students and graduates, after which they put their hands to practice, excitedly participating in the three afore-stated technical areas.

Girls listen attentively as a role model demonstrates and explains some plumbing skills. 
Ahaa! So this is how it looks like through the welding mask?! Wow!
There was a heavy downpour not long after the afternoon session had started but that did not stop the people from carrying on with the commemorations. The event was interrupted for some time as everyone went into the college hall to continue with the colourful function.

The community engagement session involved speeches from various stakeholders, an orientation and motivation session from TEVETA, which marketed the trades currently being offered in the technical colleges, appealing to the female youths to take up the challenges as had done their role models who were currently successful in the industry. There were also speeches from the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare and the UNESCO-STEP.
They watched the demonstration of the skills with the attention and serenity of a lizard that is about to catch a life-giving fly

The excitement in the girls could not be overemphasized
During the event, NYCOM and UNESCO-STEP also launched a story writing competition for young people. The competition requires young people aged 10-35 to write and submit stories about women they know who are courageous and have pursued non-traditional careers and have shaped new gender roles.  

The competition, billed as the "Ngwazi Zazikazi Story Competition", will run from March 10 to July 10, 2017, but the presentation of the main prizes is expected to be made on International Youth Day (IYD) on August 12, 2017. There will also be monthly and weekly prizes before the main prizes are presented. Some of the winning stories will also be aired on a local radio station that is yet to be named.

Reggae-Dancehall songstress, Sangie, performing 'Ngwazi Zazikazi', the theme song for the IWD in Malawi. She features Chiwamba in the audio and its yet-to-be-released video. 
The event was spiced up by performances from female reggae-dancehall songstress, Sangie and renowned vernacular poet, Robert Chiwamba. There were also performances from local performing arts groups. Chiwamba and Sangie have also provided the theme song and theme poem form the IWD and the story writing competition.
Chiwamba pouring out his energy in support of women empowerment. His poem, also titled 'Ngwazi Zazikazi' is also already going around faster than a rumour.