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Cultural Fund Malawi disburses over K85 million

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The Cultural Fund for Malawi (CFM) Grants Management Committee has awarded small grants totaling K85,219,690.00 ($117,544.40) to four arts and cultural organisations.

The organisations are the Department of Fine and Performing Arts— Chancellor College, University of Malawi— National Theatre Association of Malawi (Ntam), Art and Global Health Centre Africa (AGHCA) and Theatre for a Change (TfaC) in collaboration with Blackmore Creative.

Regional Project Manager Open Society, Hivos Southern Africa Hub/Malawi, Baldwin Chiyamwaka, said this was the third call for proposals which were advertised in October last year.

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According to Chiyamwaka, the first call was made in June 2016 and the second call was made in October 2016.

He said that, following the provision of support to the four organisations, the fund is now supporting 17 organisations.

CFM 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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Chiyamwaka said this was an open call for various strands such as film, design, craft, fashion, music, photography and creative writing in the arts and cultural sectors.

“The criteria used looked at, among others, the strong focus on promotions of cultural rights and freedom of expression; strong collaboration, that is, organisations [being] able to initiate or strengthen collaborations, strategic partnerships, networking and peer learning through jointly implemented projects or other such strategies,” Chiyamwaka said.

He said that the criteria for selection used by the Grants Management Committee looked at, among other things, capacity to implement and financial position/strategic use of financial resources, track record and innovative ideas.

“It was clearly spelt out that women-led organisations would have an added advantage and were encouraged to apply. Out of the four, two are women-led organisations,” Chiyamwaka said.

Art and Global Health Centre Africa (AGHCA) is working on a project titled ‘Artists with Dreams’ while Theatre for a Change and Blackmore Creative project title is ‘Community Arts Clubs for Marginalised Groups’.

Ntam is working on a project titled ‘Promoting cultural rights and freedom of expression through theatrical Artistic performances in Malawi’ while the Department of Fine and Performing Arts, led by lecturer in drama Zindaba Chisiza, is working on a project titled ‘Cultural Indaba’.

Since phasing out the Cultural Support Scheme, which was also funded by Royal Norwegian Embassy, CFM has come in handy to support the creative sector— which does not get any subvention from the government.

Norwegian Ambassador to Malawi, Kikkan Haugen, said recently that Norway has supported culture in the country for over 15 years.

“We are currently supporting culture through the Cultural Fund Malawi which is managed by Hivos and we would like to thank Hivos for managing the grants on our behalf,” Haugen said.

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