When I talk about the challenges Malawi is facing, I often get asked what the Malawi Government is doing to help it’s own people. We were back at Tapukwa yesterday and invited the Director of Planning and Development (DPD) to join us.
The DPD, Frank Makandawire, is a busy and influential man but he was happy to sit in the back of our car as we bounced 25km up the dirt road to the irrigation scheme. When we arrived, he greeted the children first and then we got down to business.
We walked the length and breadth of the scheme and talked about the plans we have for the next 12 months. Frank was appreciative of the support of the Scottish Government and the work of Malawi Fruits and we talked about the planning priorities for his District. Here is a man who cares deeply about his people; does what he can with scarce resources (only 13% of Malawians earn enough to pay tax) and who likes partnership as much as we do. I was impressed.
I told him of our plans to put in an IT room – the hydro power opens up this possibility -four PCs preloaded with agricultural training videos and manuals was our plan. Frank argued that we should take this much further and has promised to link us with family planning and health services who will provide additional video and resources we can add to the IT library. We talked about making this a Resource Centre for the community and its an excellent idea and an addition we can do within our budget.
Frank also suggested building an additional room which the children and young people could use to access TV and Dvd. Malawians in this area are desperate to learn and there is a lot of programming which could really help with their education. He did concede that they would watch football too, but I wouldn’t grudge these people that! It’s a great idea and I’d love to see it happen – the community would provide the bricks and labour so we need about £1500 to make this happen – any Church or group out there up for raising that? We’ll even put your name on the door!