Jul 27, 2017 Last Updated 2:30 PM, Jul 26, 2017

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.

Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world and its economy is worsening.

Malawians are struggling to earn enough money to feed their families.

As such earning a living, is vital for survival.

To make matters worse, Malawi is also facing a serious youth unemployment crisis and the highest working poverty rate in the world.

The working poor are working people whose income falls below the given poverty line.

According to a 2013 report b the National Statistical Office and he International Labour Organisation, only 11.3% of the working population is in formal employment.

A large part of the population is left to fend for themselves with over 54% being self-employed.

If young people are to succeed in the global job market, there needs to be a stronger focus on entrepreneurial education.

High unemployment levels co-exist with increased difficulties in filling vacancies.

For instance, most job applications leave a lot to be desired

As a result, potential employers are left with no option but to advertise for people with many years of experience.

This however raises concerns amongst young people, who feel that they are not being given an opportunity to get a job after leaving college.

Some young people find it difficult to explore alternative business avenues.

They feel that certain jobs are area specific.

For example urban youth will not venture into farming because the job requires one to mainly work in a rural area.

However, investing into modern agriculture can be very successful in meeting the growing demand for food by Malawi’s population and also yield good financial returns.

Most young people I’ve spoken to mainly want to venture into business in the cities.

Our current education system needs support if it is going to adapt to such challenges.

Tools, such as entrepreneurship education, show good results because they focus on soft and core skills, including: problem-solving as well as team-building.

It is also essential for young people to obtain other skills such as learning to learn, social, initiative-taking, entrepreneurship, and cultural awareness.

Entrepreneurship education not only enables young people to start a successful business, but also to become valuable contributors to Malawi's economy.

Even in the most advanced education systems, however, entrepreneurship education lies in the hands of the few secondary school teachers who've been properly trained.

One would ask; has vocational education training been given the attention it deserves?

To address these issues the country must generate greater awareness of the benefits of entrepreneurship education.

Malawians also need to focus on teachers who do not have access to the training to deliver entrepreneurial learning. 

A group of young girls in Karonga district known as Girls With a Vision is working on ensuring that their fellow girls know how to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections and early pregnancies.

 The grouping went to Maghemo secondary school to counsel their peers.

One of the group’s leading members, 20 year old Phaless Kawonga said girls in the district are at a high risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections including HIV and AIDS.

Kawonga added that this is so due to peer pressure and this prevents from pursueing their studies hence the group’s decision to come up with an initiative to help them refrain from such malpractices through debates.

“We had a debate on the effects of abortion and premarital sex being a common challenge that derail their future so in our activities we teach our fellow girls to refrain from such practices,” said Kawonga.

Kawonga further cited some of the challenges they are facing when trying to advise their colleagues on the importance of abstaining from premarital and casual sex where most of their peers underrate them and ignore their piece of advice.

Speaking to Capital FM on the importance of such debates among girls in schools, one of the teachers at the school who is also a matron for Maghemo Youth Club, Jane Chekecheke said the initiative will really help young girls avoid indulging in casual sex thereby helping them concentration more on their studies.

Chekecheke said, “This is a very important initiative as it will help improve the mindset of girls on issues of abortion and premarital sex which has become a serious challenge among young girls in many schools.”

Girls With a Vision are implementing their objectives to rescue more girls from dropping out of school due to early pregnancies and HIV and AIDS with support from the Foundation for Community Support Services (FOCUS) and Kachila Youth Initiatives (KAYI).

In January, music’s reining icon Rihanna visited a school in Malawi to learn about the educational challenges facing students there.

Besides singing some of the most popular music on the planet, Rihanna is also an avowed humanitarian and the founder of the Clara Lionel Foundation, which has partnered with Global Citizen and the Global Partnership for Education to advocate for improving access to education for some of the world's poorest students.

During her visit to Malawi, Rihanna took a turn at the blackboard teaching math, reading with kids, and leading chants on the playground.

A small percentage of students in Malawi manage to complete secondary school, according to Rihanna's organization.

"It's such a pity that they have to drop out, because they are so smart," she says in the video shared by Global Citizen.

"Everybody's learning together, and learning at the same pace it seems. It's sad that has to end for some of them, because they could probably do so much if they had the resources to continue and complete."

The experience was well-suited to the pop star's skill set.

"I love that they learn in melody, that's like my favorite thing," Rihanna notes about her experience in the classrooms.

"Because kids, they adopt melody really, really quickly. And so if you can use that as a learning tool, I think that's the most brilliant, brilliant thing."

The goal of Rihanna's visit was to help convince world leaders to commit $3.1billion  to funding the Global Partnership for Education, which works with education ministries in 89 countries to help them improve the quality of schooling for as many as 800 million children, according to the Global Citizen website.

Thousands Of Students From Mwenilondo Full Primary School In Karonga District Are Struggling To Access Quality Education Due To Lack Of Learning And Teaching Materials Coupled With Inadequate Teaching Personnel And Poor Infrastructures.

The school which accommodates learners from the villages of Vokolani, Mulindayifwa and Mwangolera has 1160 pupils against 16 teachers with 10 class rooms and only 19 desks.

Thus, in a quest to deal with the challenge, a group of people who went through Mwenilondo FP School in the district and now residing in the country and in diaspora formed an organisation known as Friends of Mwenilondo.

The grouping has offered to construct a MK15 million administration block at the school.

Apart from that, they are also offering to renovate one of the two school blocks at the cost of MK1.6 million.

Chairperson of the organisation, Gerald Chilongo told Capital FM that through the Smartphone application, WhatsApp, they managed to link up many of their former classmates and convinced them to help renovate the school as a as a way of showing appreciation .

Chilongo said they chose to support the primary school which moulded them into who they are today, because they would on the other hand send a message tha stakeholder shoul prioritise primary schools and not primaries only.

He therefore warned against politicians to desist from capitalising on the construction project by telling their followers that the development has come in through their initiative just to woo more votes come the 2019 tripartite elections.

Expressing his gratitude towards the kind gesture headmaster of the school, Tom Kalinga said this will help teachers prepare their lesson plans thoroughly and asked for mutual relationship among the people of Mwenilondo to provide sand, water and bricks that will help them develop a sense of ownership.

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