By Thom Khanje:
National Planning Commission (NPC) has said ideas and suggestions as presented by youths through their entries in the ‘My Future, Our Future Youth Essays and Arts Competition will be taken on board in the development of the new vision.
NPC Director of Development Planning Grace Kumchulesi, said the commission’s development planning team went through all essays and artistic pieces and extracted interesting ideas for National Transformation 2063, the envisioned successor to Vision 2020.
“We took all the essays and drawings received – including those that did not win –seriously and many suggestions provided will be incorporated in the new vision,” Kumchulesi said.
She said the contributions were now part of the preliminary findings from public consultations NPC has been conducting on the new vision from which key pillars and enablers of the vision have emerged and are now going through expert analysis.
“We really enjoyed reading the essays and seeing the drawings. One could only admire the creativity and artistry that went into writing and sketching, in addition to the flow of ideas on national development,” Kumchulesi said.
She said the ideas in the essays and the drawings are consistent with what Malawian youths in general have presented as their wish-list for the vision.
“What is coming out clearly from the essays and the drawings is that youths want Malawi to achieve first world development, complete with skyscrapers, wide and clean highways, modern schools and hospitals and all facilities associated with developed countries.
“They want Malawi to be completely transformed to a modern country with high standards of living among all its citizens. They are really aiming high. What is encouraging is that they all believe that this is achievable, and indeed it is,” she said.
NPC, in collaboration with National Youth Council of Malawi, Unicef, World Bank, Usaid-funded Health Policy Plus and SeedCo, run the essay and art competition in May and June this year for school-going young Malawians aged 10 to 25 to give them a special platform to contribute their aspirations towards the new vision.
The competition was in four categories of Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Essay writings as well as Arts for all school groups.
The winners announced in July included Talandira Kubalasa, 12, who is in Standard eight at Likuni Girls Primary School in Lilongwe, who won the Primary school category whereas Mtende Ngwira, 11 and in Standard six at Mkwichi Primary School in Lilongwe and Megan Chiwaula, 10 and in Standard four at Chesa Private Primary School in Zomba coming second and third respectively.
In the Secondary category, Jacquiline Salatiel, 13, in Form One at Mary Mount Secondary School in Mzuzu came top with Shareefah Morta, 14, in Form 4 at Dedza Islamic Girls Secondary School and Anthony Mlepo, 14, also in Form 3 at SOS Secondary School in Lilongwe coming second and third respectively.
The tertiary category was won by Joseph Katsala, 21, a fourth year student studying agricultural economics at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources with Neema Dudha,19, a first year education studies student at Malawi Assemblies of God University and Oliheya Nyoni, 22 studying banking and finance at the University of Malawi – Polytechnic coming second and third respectively.
In the arts category, Shameemah Morta, 17, a second year architectural studies at The Polytechnic was the champion followed by Kenneth Kubalasa 25, a second year accounting studies student at Don Bosco Technical College in Lilongwe coming second. On third was Nathan Mumba, 10 a Standard six learner at Mkwichi Primary School in Lilongwe.
President, Lazarus Chakwera officially presented the awards to the winners at Bingu International Conference Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe recently when he officially opened the National Development Conference.
The conference brought together various stakeholders to discuss the emerging National Transformation 2063, the envisioned successor to Vision 2020.