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Cultural Fund Malawi disburses over K200 million

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Cultural Fund Malawi, which is supported by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Norwegian government through the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Malawi— in 2016/17 disbursed over K200 million to partners and organisations through the managers, Hivos Foundation.

Project Manager for Open Society (Transparency, Accountability and Freedom of Expression), Baldwin Chiyamwaka, said this on Saturday at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe during the two-day National Schools Youth Arts Festival (Nasfest).

He said most of the organisations and partners who have benefited are in the creative industry.

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“In 2016/17, a total of 13 organisations or partners were funded and more than K200 million was provided. It’s not the exact figure and this excludes administration costs,” Chiyamwaka said.

He added that, this year, the grants committee sat down to assess and evaluate proposals for the 2017 call which was made in October.

Results are expected to be released by Friday next week.

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“Five or more organisations will benefit from the fund,” Chiyamwaka said.

He also said a proposal is being made to extend support to the organisations which are doing well, in terms of timely reporting and adherence to contractual provisions.

“This proposal is [meant] to extend support to these organisations instead of sending new proposals but we are yet to see whether that will materialise,” he said.

Chiyamwaka said he was delighted to see that, this year, Nasfest has been scaled up.

“I am happy with the skills, in terms of self expression and ability where the youth are able to identify which cultures are harmful and which ones are not. This is impressive,” he said.

Chiyamwaka said this was in line with the objective of Cultural Fund Malawi, whose purpose, he said, is to, among other things, provide technical support to the creative industry.

“The focus is to develop freedom of expression so that artists should become change agents and be able to participate in democratic processes in terms of accountability. We want, through the Fund, to help artists develop and collaborate,” Chiyamwaka said.

He added that the Fund also wants to give an opportunity to those who are eligible to benefit.

Norwegian Ambassador to Malawi, Kikkan Haugen, who was the guest of honour during Nasfest, said Norway has supported culture in the country for over 15 years.

“The fruits of our support are many and I am pleased to see that culture is continuously being used to disseminate various messages. We are supporting culture through the Cultural Fund, which is managed by Hivos, and we would like to thank Hivos for managing the grants on our behalf,” Haugen said.

Acting Director of Arts in the Ministry of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development, Humphrey Mpondaminga, said the government pledges total support to the Cultural Fund Malawi so that “we can move the arts and culture to greater heights”.

He hailed Light of Youth Creative Organisation (Lyco) for driving Nasfest, which was running for the eighth time this year.

“I like the theme of the festival this year – ‘Youth in Action to Eliminate Harmful Cultural Practices’. Elimination of harmful cultural practices is an important activity of the project being implemented by UN Women,” he said.

Malawi Digital Broadcast Network Limited Director of Marketing, John Mchilikizo, said they were interested in the festival; hence, giving support by offering Kiliye Kiliye decoders to all the nine schools that made it to the final.

Nasfest was packaged with several activities during the two-day gathering at Kamuzu Institute for Sports on Friday and BICC on Saturday.

However, the festival started late on Saturday. It also failed to pull an impressive audience.

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