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Cultural Fund in final year

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The Cultural Fund Malawi which is currently supporting several stakeholders including the creative industry is in its third and last year.

Project Manager for Open Society (Transparency, Accountability and Freedom of Expression), Baldwin Chiyamwaka, revealed this on Saturday in Blantyre.

The Cultural Fund Malawi is provided by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Malawi Embassy and is managed by Hivos Foundation, Hub for Southern Africa through the Malawi Office.

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“We are in the third and last year of the Cultural Fund Malawi project. In July we will commission an evaluation to determine in a way the impact of the project and in May we have the third review meeting,” Chiyamwaka said.

He said the two activities will enable the Royal Norwegian Embassy consider to proceed with the Cultural Fund Malawi or not.

Chiyamwaka said they were impressed with several of the projects which they were funding.

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He said the spirit behind the Cultural Fund Malawi is to help put up a well coordinated support to arts and culture in the country as well as promotion of freedom of expression, cultural rights, women participation in arts and culture.

Since it came into the limelight, the Cultural Fund Malawi has been an important instrument for arts players oiling their different projects since the phasing out of the Cultural Support Scheme.

Blantyre Arts Festival (Baf) Executive Director, Thom Chibambo, said they were hoping that the Cultural Fund Malawi will continue its support to the creative industry for more years.

“We are just keeping our fingers crossed that the project should continue for more years. Many players in the creative industry have benefited and put up developmental programmes that have benefitted the country,” Chibambo said.

Norwegian Deputy Ambassador, Bjarne Garden, said they were happy that the Cultural Fund Malawi continues to build the capacity of cultural  practitioners to contribute to the development of culture in the country.

Additionally, Garden also said the Cultural Fund Malawi provides a forum for cultural practitioners to disseminate important messages through music, theatre and poetry.

He however, could not be drawn to comment on the renewal of the fund, saying it is done by other players in Norway.

Recently, Chiyamwaka announced that the Cultural Fund for Malawi Grants Management Committee had awarded small grants totalling K85, 219,690.00 to four arts and cultural organisations.

The organisat ions included Department of Fine and Performing Arts-University of Malawi, Chancellor College, National Theatre Association of Malawi (Ntam), Art and Global Health Centre Africa and Theatre for a Change in collaboration with Blackmore Creative.

This was a third call for proposals which was advertised in October 2017.

The first call according to Chiyamwaka was made in June 2016 and the second call was in October 2016.

With the new four organisations, the fund now supports 17 organisations.

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