This blog post is by Samuel Diekert (edited by Bobita Subhir) on Samuel's visit to Mbando Village where Abundance works and Sam launched a library at the village during his visit......
My hearfelt thanks to the Abundance Team for giving me an opportunity and all the logistical support to come to Malawi in November 2017. Earlier, in 2013, I had been a part of a mission with the UNESCO Southern African Cluster Office at Namibia. I returned to Namibia on a project entitled “Namibia Gender and Power Relations”. The focus of my study is: (1) democracy and political participation; (2) socio-economic empowerment; (3) sexual & reproductive health and (4) gender-based violence. As part of my study, I decided to include Malawi and got the opportunity to visit Mbando village where Abundance works.
I wish to acknowledge with gratitude the help & loving support of all those who helped including Meghraj from Dignitas, and a member of Abundance’s Board of Trustees, who introduced me to Vineeth Murthy of Demography section of National Statistics Office (NSO), who was kind to provide data of their recent surveys. I am very grateful to Clifford, Grace Mumba, Ruth Mumba and Steward Paul for their enthusiasm to show me around & imparting valuable information on Malawi.
I had a chance to visit a number of organizations and undertake interviews for my study. They include Rodrick Mwale, Chief Producer, Rodrick Sinoya, Chief Reporter and Daniel Chikatentha, Research, Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning & Documentation, Manager of YONECO, Sakina Majawa, Head of Programmes CHAMCO Community Radio. These community radio stations air programmes focusing on Women, Children and Youth that are politically neutral and would be helpful for the project I am presently working on.
John Wilson, who having stayed in Zomba for 30yrs, divulged meaningful information of the area and also introduced me to Prof. M. Chimombo, Executive Director of the Sub-Saharan Africa Family Enrichment (SAFE). Based in Malawi since 1973, she imparted valuable insights into the country’s reality, and was much impressed by the launch of a community library that would help inculcate reading habits in Mbando.
Before coming to Malawi, I visited my friends at The Namib Desert Environmental Education Trust (NaDEET) and mentioned to them about my trip to Malawi and that other than my research work, I had another agenda, that of launching a library at Mbando village. My friends at NaDEET immediately donated several books on various topics related to Environmental Education, for this Community Library! Furthermore, UNESCO Windhoek Office also contributed books for use by teachers and educational planners. MaryBeth Gallagher, an American educator, also was kind enough to donate lots of children’s books for storytelling activities. In addition, Geetha Jay from Lilongwe a friend of Abundance’s donated a whole set of encyclopedias! The kindness of all these people just snowballed and our library collection grew.
Overall, I am extremely satisfied with the outcomes of my mission to Malawi. At the academic level, it has provided me with valuable information that will help me further in my assignment; at the professional level I feel optimistic that a specific project targeting gender will have space within Abundance’s portfolio of projects; and finally, at the personal level, the kindness and humility of Malawian people has deeply touched me.
The reflections were edited by Bobita Subhir. Abundance is thankful to people like Bobita who volunteer their time for Abundance.
A few weeks after Samuel's visit, he and his family donated 300Euros specifically for the library.
Reflections and Blogposts by Abundance members and friends
The blog posts here are a collection of reflections by people who have supported Abundance,or visited Mbando village where we work.