Malawi government officials are stressing that regular monitoring of construction projects is the best way to rectify the issues of substandard works affecting most projects in the country.
This comes amid concerns that for the past years contractors have been frustrating government as they have delivered sub-standard works despite agreements to carry on standard works.
Through this, Capital Hill has lost huge sums of money.
Speaking to Capital FM after Ntcheu district council signed a contractual agreement with a contractor identified to construct a stadium in the district.
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development stated that it is worrisome to see construction projects being done contrary to a client’s expectations.
Kiswel Dakamau believes the contractor; Plem Construction Limited will deliver as is expected by the ministry.
“You may recall that the contractor is the same who constructed both Dedza and Balaka stadiums hence we expect him to do the good work he did with the latter.
What we want is infrastructures that will withstand with time and hope the same will be with Ntcheu stadium,” Dakamau explained.
However the Local Government and Rural Development Principal Secretary disclosed the structure will help to enhance revenue collection for Ntcheu district council once finished.
He stressed that with decentralization, infrastructures like stadiums are of great importance in bring in more revenue to council hence helping them render good service delivery to its communities.
Representatives of Plem Construction Limited assured authorities to work to their satisfactory considering huge sums of money government is pumping in to the construction project.
Government through Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has funded the 20,000 capacity Ntcheu stadium MK4.6 Billion and expect to complete in a year once construction works start at the site.
High enrollment rate of girls who were at risk of dropping-out of school has been registered for the past three years in Malawi’s central region district of Ntcheu.
The number has risen from 8992 learners in 2014 to 11,623 in 2017.
This follows phasing out of Keeping Girls in School (KGIS) project implemented by the CCAP of Blantyre Synod in the district,
The project was implemented with funding from Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID) through Save the Children.
All the 18 educational zones in the district benefited from the project which had two components of school experience targeting both primary and secondary learners as well as cash transfer targeting standard 7 and 8 learners.
Speaking to Capital FM, Ntcheu District Education Monitoring Information System Officer reveals that involvement of all education stakeholders has contributed to the rise in figures.
Godfrey Kayamba Nkadzanja stated the approach taken by the project to involve mother groups, parents and teachers leaves a lot to be desired since it has boosted status of girl’s education in the district.
Nkadzanja stressed that enrollment of boys and girls is always the same in lower classes but when it goes to higher classes the numbers tend to differ with most girls dropping-out.
“KGIS has managed to break the barriers that always resulted to girls in dropping-out of school when they are in senior classes than in junior classes.”
“And issues to do with menstrual periods, early marriages are among common challenges that affect girl’s education hence they prefer to drop out rather than stay in school,” Nkadzanja explained.
KGIS Cash Transfer Project Manager for Creative Centre for Community Mobilization (CRECCOM) an organization among consortium implementing the project expressed gratitude on the success registered in the district.
Geoffrey Kamanga said, “We faced a number of challenges in which some local leaders were not working hand in hand with structures we trained in a bid to sustain girls education.
“But after involving Traditional Chiefs, the situation improved and currently there is a good working relationship which is an achievement to the project.”
Kamanga then expressed hope that though the project is phasing out, trained structures will continue with the work on the ground so as to improve girl’s education in the country.
Apart from CRECCOM a consortium of Education Commission of Archdiocese of Lilongwe, CCAP Livingstonia Synod and FAWEMA were also implementing the project in other districts across the country.
These districts are Lilongwe, Salima and Mchinji in the central region and Karonga and Mzimba in northern region of Malawi respectively.
The project which had two components of school experience and cash transfer was targeting primary school girls from standard 7 and 8 as well as those in form 1 and 2 in secondary schools in all the targeted districts.
Meanwhile, it has been revealed that cash transfer component which provide incentives to primary schools learners especially girls from standard 7-8 inform of money will continue up until August 2017.
Currently benefiting learners receives cash via Airtel Money platform amounting to MK8,000 per school term to use and buy basic necessities hence sustaining their education.
And apart from Ntcheu, Blantyre Synod was also implementing the project in Zomba, Mangochi, Chikhwawa and Nsanje district respectively.
Police in Malawi’s central region district of Ntcheu have arrested nine students from Lake View secondary school in connection with a fire that led to the loss of property worth millions of Kwacha.
Law enforcers in the district confirmed of the development stating that some students had been arrested in connection to the fire.
The students allegedly torched the school's laboratory room, staff room and Accounts office.
This led to the gutting down of school property worth MK2 million in the process.
Speaking to Capital FM, Ntcheu Police Spokesperson disclosed that the students allegedly set the school on fire as a way to vent their frustration on the poor diet being offered at the school and also the continued transfer of teachers to other schools.
Hastings Chigalu went on further to say that, without presenting their grievances to authorities, the students organised themselves and went to Njolomole trading centre where they purchased paraffin for their mission.
The nine that were arrested will appear in court soon to answer charges of arson which contravenes section 337 of the Penal Code.
Absence of policies and frameworks to guide issues of compensation and resettlement is said to be perpetuating infringement of people’s rights in mining areas in Malawi.
The development has resulted to people living in mining prone areas be subject to abuses from investors who mostly fail to settle compensation claims despite claiming their land.
In view of this, a project to lobby for a formulation, adoption of a comprehensive national compensation and resettlement policy framework is under way in the country.
The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) is implementing the project called Transparency Initiative With Our Natural Resources (TIWONE III) in four districts; Ntcheu, Karonga, Chikhwawa and Phalombe.
Idea is to lobby government for the formulation of a comprehensive national compensation and resettlement policy in the country.
Speaking to Capital FM, Dedza Diocese CCJP Programs Officer disclosed the initiative sought to build capacity of local communities to engage government and mining investors towards having a transparent, accountable and responsive mining sector.
Horace Kasudze stated the faith based organisations, religious leaders and civil society organisations will also be championing social justice issues hence helping communities demand better resettlement and compensation packages in impact area.
“We want communities to demand want it belongs to them by having access to compensation and resettlements claims settled in good time.
Therefore, as a project will are going to provide guidelines and alternative views on mining practices and its weak legal and policy framework,” explained Kasudze.
With funding from a German organisation known as Miserior, CCJP through its National office will be implementing TIWONE III from 2017 up until December 2018.
And in Ntcheu district the project is targeting the area of Sub Traditional Authority Mkutumula.
A lack of awareness on sexual and reproductive health rights is fuelling cases of teen pregnancies and early marriages in Malawi’s central region district of Ntcheu.
The development is said to be hampering education among young people resulting to high school dropout.
Authorities in the district are attributing the trend due to sexual relationships among yhe youth.
Parents are also at fault as they are forcing their children especially girls into early marriages in order to sustain their daily livelihood.
And to eliminate the malpractices, Catholic Health Commission (CHC) under Dedza Diocese is implementing a health related project in the district.
The initiative known as Nzatonse is currently under way in all 10 Traditional Authorities and focus in sexual and reproductive health rights targeting school going youhts.
Speaking to Capital FM, Primary Education Advisor (PEA) for Tsangano Zone expressed sadness with the tendency by some parents who are forcing their children to get married at the tender age.
John Singano described the situation as pathetic stating it is affecting education hence contributing to high illiteracy levels among youths in the area.
However Singano reveals that despite the challenges, number of learners who are able to finish standard eight has now risen from 50% up to 100% unlike in the past.
The Tsanagano Zone PEA attributes all this to interventions by partners aimed at encouraging learners to be in school than engaging themselves into premarital sexual relationship that leads to teen pregnancies and early marriages.
Commenting on the development, Ntcheu District Youth Officer stated the development is heavily affecting youth development in the district.
Arberson Mwale then commended CHC with the initiative stressing that it will go a long way in addressing gaps that are contributing to early marriages and teen pregnancies.
CHC Diocesan Secretary for Dedza Diocese reaffirms total commitment in raising awareness to youths, parents as well as traditional and religious leaders in the area.
Robin Ngalande stressed that doing so will help to eliminate challenges that are affecting youths when accessing information on sexual and reproductive health rights.
“Nzatonse will continue raise awareness on the importance of education while in other hand sensitising communities and youths on issues to do with sexual and reproductive health rights.
What we want is to have responsible citizens that are literate and able to make informed decisions hence contributing to countries socio-economic development,” Ngalande said.
CHC under Dedza diocese is implementing Nzatonse project with financial support from KFW.
The idea is to equip young people with information in regards to sexual and reproductive health rights so as they make informed decisions besides encouraging them to go to school.