LILONGWE, Malawi, August 14, 2021 (AEJ) - Retail financial institution FDH Bank Plc and Energy Generating Company (Egenco) have pioneered to power part of the Association of Environment Journalists (AEJ) green media awards and national training budget slated for August this year with MK1.5 million and MK2 million financial sponsorship respectively.
Established a decade ago, AEJ is a legally existing media membership – driven organisation registered under the Trustees Incorporation Act at the Ministry of Justice. AEJ has hosted the red-carpet event and national training from 2014, hence motivating and rewarding practitioners that have excelled in covering diverse sectors of the environment. This is in line with the Malawi vision 2063, African Union Agenda 2063 and the UN sustainable development goals.
Both the awards and national training will be held under the theme, “ecosystem restoration.” This is derived from the UN decade on ecosystem restoration 2021 - 2030. This is a rallying call for the protection and revival of ecosystems globally, for the benefit of people and nature. It aims to halt the degradation of ecosystems, and restore them to achieve global goals.
Energy Generating Company (Egenco) Senior Public Relations Officer, Moses Gwaza connected the dots that it is due to environmental degradation that they are having to spent MK5 billion annually to remove silt at Tedzani dam.
“We are also spending almost the same amount of money to remove silt and expand the dam at Nkula. Luckily, at Kapichira Millennium Challenge Compact gave us a dredging equipment that we are using to remove silt. We are however, having to spend huge sums of money on a monthly basis for buying diesel to operate the dredging equipment. In addition, soil erosion also causes our machine underwater parts to wear out quickly that are very expensive to replace,” a concerned Gwaza explained in an interview.
Therefore, you can see that if the environment is no protected and cared for, it has devastating effects on power generation which is the core mandate of Egenco.
This is why added Gwaza, we always support AEJ efforts because we look at them as key partners to help civic educate the general public to expound on the value that our environment has and how we should take care of the same.
“As a responsible corporate citizen, one of FDH's sustainability pillars is environment. We are passionate about supporting initiatives that advance care of the environment and preservation of ecosystems.” George Chitera - FDH Bank Plc Acting Managing Director explained after the handing the support adding that, “It was from this background that FDH Bank Plc decided to applaud AEJ initiatives by supporting them with K1.5m towards the green media awards prizes during the annual general assembly.”
We believe this will go a long way, in advancing the shared passion and responsibility for caring the environment, Chitera added.
In a related development, over the past 10 months AEJ has been working with the USAID and UKaid co-funded Modern Cooking for Healthy Forests in Malawi activity (MCHF) to support investigative journalism and fact-based reporting in the forestry sector.
“Building on this successful partnership AEJ and MCHF signed a memorandum of understanding that will support capacity building of its members in selected areas.” Ramzy Kenan, MCHF Chief of Party said in an interview.
MCHF is a project designed to promote sustainable forest management in selected landscapes, as well as promote sustainable energy options in some urban demand centres to maintain forest cover and reduce land-based emissions.
Mathews Malata, AEJ President in his reaction after the MOU signing with MCHF pledged to promote sustainable management of forests and the environment in general and the scaling-up of friendly user energy solutions.
“To achieve this, we need to address the information gap and influence positive behavioural change and this partnership will strive to achieve just that. As you might be aware, we have always worked together with MCHF. It's just that now we want to be a little more strategic, it won’t be easy, but we are confident it will work.” Said Malata after endorsing the MOU.
Malata added that apart from building media capacity in forestry reporting, AEJ is also strategically positioned to strongly advocate for different forestry – related issues and trigger national debates on issues rarely discussed at national level.
MCHF and AEJ are behind the series of investigative forestry pieces that have recently emerged in the media to help expose the challenges and of course successes the sector is facing.
Photos - Courtesy of FDH Bank plc and Gift Chimulu