By Norah Phiri
Tikwere, a radio program is part of an effort to improve the teaching and learning conditions in early classes in Malawi primary schools. In addition to that it also supports and reinforces the introduction of the new Primary Curriculum and Assessment Reform(PCAR).
Image Source: International Development Division
However this program has created room for some teachers to be lazy. Chisangano Primary school in Encongolweni in Mzimba district is one of the school that is experiencing this kind of behavior.
Speaking in an interview, one of the teachers at the school, Sarah Nyambose, said it is true that some teachers are taking advantage of Tikwere program by not fully giving out their best when it comes to teaching.
“Sometimes teachers don’t teach and sometimes they just open the radio to the students without explain anything to them”, she said.
Nyambose continued to say this is becoming much of the problem because at this school, there already is inadequate teachers to cover all the classes properly.
“We only have seven teachers at this school and this means one teacher is supposed to teach all subjects and we still have a shortage of one teacher and it’s the headmaster who takes up the remaining class .If it happens that one of the teacher is sick or busy that means one class might not learn that day.” Said Nyambose.
Meanwhile while some primary school are taking advantages of this program, some schools are rejoicing and are benefiting with the help of Tikwere.
Mathews Kachigamba, a teacher at Chitheka primary school says they are privileged with the help of Tikwere because it makes work easier and it helps the pupils to learn the exact thing with other schools at the same time.
By Blessings Kaunda
A Head teacher, and Chairperson of Kambulaudzu Primary School are being accused of misplacing about two million kwacha meant for school development. The school has no quality student blocks, toilets, and teachers’ houses.
The school is in Kabuwa zone among five other schools. Kambulaudzu receives a lot of money from the District Education Manager, compared to other schools in the zone to improve learning and teaching rooms, teachers’ houses, and to employ assistant teachers just. Since 2013 the school has received more than two million kwacha but no noticeable development has taken place.
The deputy Head teacher of the school explained that the school has no toilets and teachers’ houses are in bad condition. He accused the Headteacher of planning everything in the absence of staff members.
“Since the development started the head teacher has not held a meeting to discuss how much the government has pumped at our school and how we should allocate the money. Up to now classrooms have no floor and some learners learn in teachers houses. Only sixty thousand kwacha has been released to buy stationary. ” said Banda.
It could be time that Kambulaudzu Primary School breathed another life if they used the money in a proper way. To his part the Headteacher denied the accusations but failed to further comment on the matter.
BY BRAINMORE ZIMBA
No electricity at Dwasulu CDSS
The day the project had started brought joy to many. Many thought of how the new development will positively change things around. Dwasulu Community Day Secondary School has had no electricity since its official opening more than two decades ago. Situated in the North of Nkhotakota in Senior Group Village Head Kamkondo under Traditional Authority Kanyenda, it is the only secondary school without electricity in the area.
Then came the electricity wiring project; a development that would leave the school with argon and fluorescent lights. Five years of wiring have elapsed now, but the school is yet to get connected to the main supplier, Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM).
The delay according to Parent Teacher Association Chairperson of the school, MacDonald Chitanje, is due to failure by the District Council to provide them with a power transformer.
Chitanje also confirmed that although a former Member of Parliament (MP) for Nkhotakota North where the school is also located Henry Chimunthu Banda paid for the transformer and other necessities to the council, nothing concrete has been done.
“ESCOM surveyors told us that we should have our own transformer in 2011. We addressed the issue to our then Member of Parliament (MP) Henry Chimunthu Banda and he covered the expenses through District Council but up today nothing has happened.” Said Chitanje.
He also added that he has been following up the issue and has been visiting the council for more than three times but things still remain incapacitated.
Deputy Headteacher of the school, Zex Banda, concurred with Chitanje that Nkhotakota District Office is in custody of documents showing that Dwasulu CDSS had paid the electricity application fees but at the District Council the documents are conspicuously missing.
Joseph Chibwana, a retired teacher at Dwasulu CDSS since 2011 is bitter with the delays by authorities among others he cites some opportunities lost.
Through telephone interviews Chibwana said: “A certain potential Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) promised to supply the school with computers if and only if electricity gets connected at the school. The school has lost a big opportunity.”
The current MP for the constituency, Frank Mphande has not yet commented on the matter as his mobile phone has been out of reach for several times.
BY BRAINMORE ZIMBA
A 35 year-old woman and her children are leaving in pathetic life following last year’s heavy rains that collapsed many houses, leaving some dead in Mzuzu.
House of Mnkhondya
The woman, Agness Mnkhondya, whose part of the house collapsed due to the heavy rains resides in Hilltop residential area, has trouble walking because a wall fell on her legs and left her severely injured .
According to, Mnkhondya, a mother of three, she is failing to look after her family properly as she cannot walk properly as she used to and running her small scale business to support her family is now a challenge.
“We were in sleep last year in April when part of my house collapsed and the wall of my bed room I used to sleep in fell over my legs. I was rushed to Mzuzu hospital by well-wishers where I spent three months. Currently I can barely walk and working is hard for me.” said Mnkhondya.
Instead her first child, Dalitso (not real name), assumes the responsibility taking care of the family by selling tomatoes and vegetables, after school, a thing which forces Dalitso to missing most classes.
As a standard 8 pupil, Dalitso feels like with the responsibility she is underking now, she might not fully get prepared to pass the forth coming Primary School Leaving Examinations.
“I always get to school late because I have to make sure house chore has been properly done. At school it becomes difficult to concentrate because of the situation at home,I always think about my mother and how we are going to sustain ourselves financially.” Said Dalitso.
However, despite being treated as an outpatient, Mnkhondya complains that she did not recover enough as she feels general pains of her body.
While the house she is leaving in is visibly not in good condition, Mnkhondya is not married such that she has no one else, apart from her children, to offer her help.
Hilltop is one of the residential areas in Mzuzu that was hit by massive floods in the previous year. The residents seems to have not taken seriously the City Council’s advice of relocating to higher ground residential areas as the residents are still there, waiting for another hard-hitting floods perhaps!
By Wellngton Mtengula (citizen journalist)
Chibavi Primary School in Mzuzu will soon be using biogas, new technology for cooking porridge for learners at the school. The technology has been implemented with support from The Centre for Community Organization Development (CCOD) and Mzuzu University through the Department of Energy and Renewable Technology.
According to Chrispin Gogoda who is one of the lecturers at Mzuzu University, the technology has the mechanism of producing methane gas which is combustible and generated from human waste hence used for cooking.
“This technology comes in to reduce over dependent of fuel wood which most people are using for cooking porridges for learners in primary schools,” said Gogoda.
Gogoda added that the department also first did a survey on how they can include issues of environment considering if the system can have some effects on human life. To his remark, biogas technology is environmental friendly and in the long run helps to balance the ecosystem.
Commenting on the matter, the headteacher of the school, Ethel Kaluwa said the project which started in 2016 will assist to reduce the overreliance on firewood and charcoal, a thing which leads to proliferating human behavior of irresponsible cutting down of tress.
“We run short of source of heat energy most of the time because we depend on firewood. We have been forcing pupils to bring firewood since we don’t have any choice. The coming of this biogas will not only help us for cooking but also reduce the cutting down of trees.” said Kauwa.
The biogas project in primary schools which started last year is funded by The UN Habitat through CCOD and is expected to be completed by March this year. In Mzuzu a number of schools like Chiputula, Ipiana, are among the beneficiaries of the project.
By Thomas Kachere
Its six years now since Robert Chasowa, a Fourth Year Mechanical Engineering Student at Malawi Polytechnic died mysteriously on 24 September, 2011.
The Malawi Police Service says it has submitted a report to the Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ministry on the probe of the murder of Chasowa who was killed by unknown assailants.
Last week, Minister of Justice and Constitution Affairs Samuel Tembenu accused the Malawi Police Service of delaying government to engage foreign investigators to probe the murder of Chasowa.
In January this year the minister said government will be engaging foreign investigators to establish what killed Chasowa following failure by the police to probe the matter.
According to the Commission of Enquiry which was commissioned by Former President Joyce Banda to probe Chasowa death, Robert was seized in the early hours of 24 September, 2011, after leaving the room of a female’s colleague at the college.
“He was gagged. His resistance was overcome by use of shock sticks. The information that Robert was on campus on this night must have come from persons within campus. Robert was led away. He was assaulted to the head at least three times,” Part of the report reads.
But speaking to MIJ Fm, Tembenu said they have not yet hired the foreign investigators because the police had not yet submitted a report on the areas the foreign investigators would cover.
However, speaking to MIJ Fm, Malawi Police Service Spokesperson James Kadadzela confirmed that the police have submitted the report to the Ministry of Justice.
Kadadzela however could not give more information on the findings of the police as well as the areas which the police have failed to investigate arguing it will be the duty of the Ministry of Justice.
By Levison Chiumya
Scores of people around Masasa suburb in the outskirts of Mzuzu City are facing food shortages and other relief materials, MIJ can reveal. The revelations come during a recent visit by Social Organization Society (SOS) when it was donating assorted food and other relief items to the affected residents.
The visit, which was co-organized with Taonga Community-Based Organization saw about 146 families, and over 2000 children benefiting from the donations. According to SoS’ National Emergency Response Programmes coordinator, Steven Nyirenda, the donation is timely as it will assist in seeing off the beneficiaries up to the forthcoming harvesting season.
“Most of these beneficiaries lost their foodstuffs courtesy of the flash floods that had hit Masasa last year. We therefore believe the little that we’ve donated will assist them as they are preparing for the harvesting season, whereby, at least, some of these food stuffs become available,” He said.
Nyirenda also hopes that the gesture will assist in reducing the number of street beggars in the city.
“As you know SOS mostly targets vulnerable children, we felt we were obliged to take part in donating this food stuff to promote children’s life. In the end, we can have a lesser number of children flocking to the city’s street to beg,” Nyirenda explained.
On their part, recipients of the relief materials expressed gratitude towards the two organizations’ good will gestures. He continued to say that this is a special relief to the residents since the donation will assist in reducing some of the problems that various families are facing.
One of the beneficiaries, Fannie Kamanga, was all smiles and hopes the donations will assist in meeting the challenges her family had been facing.
“I’m more than happy. Back then, I used to be purchasing flour twice a day. But now you can imagine 70 kgs of maize will save my family for entire February! I’m speechless!” she said. Some of the donated materials were maize, usipa, and soya beans.
By Wellington Tengula
Despite a plea by Chibanja residents to Mzuzu City Council to move timber processors away from the residential area, individuals and companies are still operating within the area. The timber processors through Mzuzu Entrepreneurs Saw Millers Association is pointing fingers at Mzuzu City Council for failing to reallocate them.
According to the association’s secretary, Nicholas Kondowe, ever-since the City Council promised to reallocate them; the council has not come forward to tell them whether the land has been acquired for them or not.
“We had a meeting with officials from the council telling us that we should leave the place. We agreed and they assured us that new land will be made available for us. They also said we should just give them enough time to bring the services to the new land.” Said Kondowe.
Kondowe however said that, since the discussions were made the council has been quite.
“Its 2 years now since they promised us and last year they came to chase us from the place but we decided to go to court to get an injunction.” Kondowe added.
In response to the claim, Public Relations Officer for Mzuzu City Council Karen Msiska concurred with the business operator saying processes are in the pipeline to reallocate them.
“We cannot just chase them without finding them a proper place for their business. We have identified some places where we intend to allocate those that are currently processing timber in Chibanja location. We have a place at Sonda and Luwinga. But we have a problem with Sonda where some plots which we have already demarcated have been encroached by residents living around the area, but as council we are working on the situation,” said Msiska.
Msiska further assured the business operators that the challenge will be resolved soon.
Residents in Chibanja have expressed dissatisfaction with the way the City Council is handling the matter.