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European Union commits to promote culture

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By Deogratias Mmana:

The European Union (EU) has said it will continue supporting cultural activities around the world because it values culture.

EU Head of Political, Press and Information Else Boonstra said this on Thursday in Lilongwe on the sidelines of the second Sound Connects Fund Grantee Networking and Capacity Building Workshop hosted by Kweza, which attracted musicians from A number of African countries.

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The workshop brought together those in the cultural and creative industries from the southern African region to share experiences for growth.

“Culture is at the heart of EU’s international relations with countries around the world, and Malawi is no exception. In Europe, just like elsewhere, we recognise culture as an engine for social development and as a vector for change,” Boonstra said.

The EU  in Malawi conducts annual film festivals, supports Art in the Park events, music crossroads academy and other cultural diplomacy activities.

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The EU is also providing 4 million Euro for the 2019-24 Sound Connects Fund, which awards grants to organisations in nine countries, including Malawi, in southern Africa.

The fund encourages entrepreneurship and cultural innovation with a special focus on youth participation and creation of new jobs.

“We are very excited to see how the existing projects from Tumaini Lethu— through their capacity building activities with young refugees— impacts what they learn. We look forward to their festival in November this year,” Boonstra said.

Tumaini is one of the awardees that received 100,000 Euros from the fund.

Kweza Managing Director Lizzie Kampunzu called on the private sector to support artists in the country

“The private sector is integral to the development of arts,” she said, adding that the workshop was meant to design ideas that are open to the entire continent.

Mozambique was represented by YC films, whose director Yara Costa said the workshop was about bringing together new technology and indigenous knowledge and cultural heritage.

South Africa was represented by Violet Maila, who is the projects manager of Sound Connects Fund Music Support Africa.

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