SALIMA, MALAWI, Sept 28, 2016:Schoolgirls in Malawi are learning what to do if someone tries to attack them. A Kenyan NGO started the training in response to a recent study that showed one in five girls under the age of 18 in Malawi has been sexually assaulted.
At a school in the Salima district of central Malawi, girls are practicing punches and jabs. But this is not a martial arts class. These girls are learning how to defend themselves.
“The curriculum involves both verbal and physical skills. Physical skill is used when it is the best and last option, meaning that we use mainly verbal skills which is how to use their voices to [prevent] the assaults,” said Loveness Thole, the Ujamaa curriculum coordinator.
The girls learn to shout for help or pretend they see someone coming to fool their attacker. They also learn techniques to disable the attacker so they can run for safety.
Some girls, such as student Shang Chituzu, said they have already had to use their skills.
“My uncle ordered me to lie on his bed. When I asked why, he started touching my body. I told him to stop and that I will report him to police or my mother if he continues. After hearing this, he ordered me out of his room,” said Chituzu.
The Ujamaa project is also teaching boys about respecting girls and teaching them how to intervene if they see a girl being assaulted.
Funds permitting, project organizers say they want to extend the self-defense program to students nationwide. (VOA)
Liwonde National Park in southern Malawi has just welcomed some new inhabitants – four cheetahs
Liwonde National Park has a population of 12,000 large mammals including bush buck, water buffalo, and antelope
Park officials say they also plan to reintroduce leopards and lions to restore the park’s lost glory
LIWONDE NATIONAL PARK, MALAWI, June 10, 2017: Poaching and wildlife trafficking have endangered some of Africa’s most iconic species and the loss of the animals has cost African countries critical tourism revenue.
But at least one national park is getting a second chance. Liwonde National Park in southern Malawi has just welcomed some new inhabitants – four cheetahs relocated there from South Africa courtesy of the nonprofit African Parks group.
Park rangers lured the first cheetah out into its new home with a fresh carcass. It’s the first cheetah Malawi has had in the wild in two decades.
The cheetah is the fastest land animal in the world, but even that couldn’t protect the species in Malawi. Poachers killed off the cheetahs’ prey and ultimately the cheetahs themselves.
“They were last seen in Malawi about 20 years ago,” said Craig Reid of the Liwonde National Park. “Specifically in Liwonde area, they have been absent for over a 100 years. So, as part of the rehabilitation of the park, we feel it is very important to bring back the cheetah to Malawi and Liwonde specifically.”
A total of four cheetahs – two males and two females – were airlifted to Liwonde from South Africa in May.
Before being released into the park, the cheetahs spent their first three weeks in an enclosure to allow them to become acclimated to their new surroundings.
Liwonde National Park has a population of 12,000 large mammals. These include bush buck, water buffalo and antelope.
The cheetah is the first large predator to be reintroduced to the park.
“We have a very healthy animal base and now that the protection measures are in place as we have got a very good law enforcement in the park,” Reid said. “The numbers of animals are increasing very rapidly and, as a result to that, there are more than enough animals to provide for some carnivorous animals such as the cheetah”.
Officials are holding meetings with communities surrounding the park.
“Those people are likely to face danger,” said David Nongoma of African Parks. “And our message to the community is to say that…they refrain from entering the park and stop doing what they used to be doing because these animals are definitely very dangerous. They can kill a human being.”
Park officials say they also plan to reintroduce leopards and lions to restore the park’s lost glory. (VOA)
US, Feb 9, 2017: American pop star Madonna has been granted permission to adopt twin girls from Malawi, a spokesman for Malawi’s judiciary said Tuesday.
Judicial spokesman Mlenga Mvula confirmed to multiple news agencies that the High Court in the southern African nation gave its approval for her to adopt the girls, who will be the third and fourth children she has adopted from the country.
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Earlier this year, Madonna had denied reports that she was trying to adopt the children.
Madonna established the non-profit organisation “Raising Malawi” over 10 years ago providing health and education programs, particularly to girls. (VOA)
Traditional healers, known locally as herbalists, say they will challenge the ruling
In Malawi, it is common to consult herbalists for ailments such as mental illness, epilepsy and impotence
The ban will not go into effect until the plaintiffs pay to publish the injunction in local media for seven consecutive days
BLANTYRE, MALAWI— The high court in Malawi has banned so-called witch doctors in a bid to reduce demand for albino body parts. Malawi’s albino association has praised the ruling, but traditional healers have vowed to fight it, saying they are not involved in magic or murder.
The high court’s ruling last week stemmed from a complaint filed by three residents of the city of Mzuzu in northern Malawi. One of them said she paid a witch doctor a lot of money after he promised a charm that would make her ex-lover take her back.
“One of the clients was complaining that the source of the deaths of albinos in the country is these witch doctors because what they do is that they prescribe body parts of albinos, like bones,” said George Kadzipatike, the lawyer for the complainants.
Those false claims have led to an alarming uptick in attacks on albinos in Malawi in the past two years.
The judge issued an injunction against what he called “witch doctors, traditional healers, charm sellers, fortune tellers and magicians,” and ads for their services.
The ban will not go into effect until the plaintiffs pay to publish the injunction in local media for seven consecutive days.
Traditional healers, known locally as herbalists, say they will challenge the ruling. They say they are not involved in magic or the trafficking of albino body parts.
“To us, it is unfair because there is no way we can combine human body [parts] and something which is going to be consumed,” said Robins Zaniko, the general secretary for the International Traditional Medicine Council of Malawi. “Because what we mainly give out to people is traditional medicine, which is consumable. We give people [medicine] to drink, to eat so that they can be cured from their various diseases.”
He says no herbalist has been among those arrested in connection with recent albino killings.
Timothy Mtambo, executive director of the Center for Human Rights and Rehabilitation, says banning all herbalists is not the answer.
“You can’t say we are banning everyone,” he said. “I would say we should have found mechanisms to make sure that we deal with those that are suspected and prove that [they] are responsible, rather than making a decision which is wholesale.”
In Malawi, it is common to consult herbalists for ailments such as mental illness, epilepsy and impotence.
“There are times when we go to the hospitals [and] they tell us that there is no medication, so we instead go to the herbalists,” said Mbayani resident Enock Chigalu.
At least 18 people with albinism have been killed since November 2014, and five more are missing, according to an Amnesty International report released this month. Amnesty says police have not done enough to investigate the crimes, and the punishments doled out are too lenient. (VOA)