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Madalitso Kateta

Lilongwe, Malawi
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About Madalitso
Madalitso Kateta is a Malawian freelance journalist based in the capital Lilongwe. Kateta specialises in developmental reporting, mostly reporting on Human Rights including Gender and Child Rights, Environment and Economics.
English Chichewa Portuguese
Audio package (Radio / Podcast) Interview (Video / Broadcast) News Gathering
Business Current Affairs Natural Disasters

Introducing PLACE: Mapping data in the public interest – Building a place based data trust for people and planet

11 Jun 2024  |  www.thisisplace.org
PLACE aims to address the inequality in access to mapping data by establishing a non-profit data trust that serves the public interest. Unlike big tech companies like Google and Facebook, which are driven by shareholder interests, PLACE focuses on democratizing data, ensuring ethical use, and engaging with governments and local partners. The organization operates on a membership model, with members agreeing to ethical data use and contributing to the trust's sustainability. PLACE collaborates with various stakeholders to maintain high standards of data quality, privacy, and security, aiming to improve public services and environmental resilience.

Malawi continues to face acute drug shortages due to COVID-19

05 Oct 2023  |  Devex
Malawi is experiencing severe drug shortages exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, affecting public hospitals and forcing patients to seek expensive private alternatives. The shortage has critically impacted maternal care and surgical procedures, with health officials citing global logistics disruptions as a major cause. However, long-standing issues such as reduced budget allocations and theft of medical supplies have also contributed to the crisis. Health rights activists and organizations are calling for urgent solutions to address the chronic drug shortages and ensure the availability of essential medications.

Second Malawi MCC compact launched amid mixed results from the first

04 Oct 2023  |  Devex
Malawi and the U.S. have launched a second Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compact, a $350 million grant aimed at reducing transportation costs and improving market access for farmers by upgrading 300 kilometers of roads. The first compact, which ran from 2013 to 2018, focused on improving the country's electricity distribution but faced criticism for not fully achieving its goals. Despite this, it supported significant infrastructure development and market reforms. The new compact aims to address economic stagnation by enhancing road networks and land productivity, with a focus on sustainable development and government ownership of projects.

Can 3D-printed schools reduce Africa’s classroom shortages?

03 Oct 2023  |  Devex
Malawi faces a severe shortage of classrooms, with UNICEF estimating a shortfall of 36,000. Traditional construction methods would take 70 years to meet this demand, but 3D-printed schools, which can be built in just 24 hours, offer a promising solution. The world's first 3D-printed school in Malawi, constructed by 14Trees, a joint venture between Holcim and British International Investment, has significantly improved access to education. The technology not only reduces construction time but also cuts costs by 25.4% and carbon emissions by up to 85.9%. Despite the high initial costs of 3D construction printers, stakeholders like Francois Perrot of 14Trees and Maggie Grout of Thinking Huts are optimistic about the technology's potential, citing strong interest from donors and investors.

Gavi and partners launch mass typhoid vaccination campaign in Malawi

18 May 2023  |  Devex
In Ntcheu, Malawi, a mass vaccination campaign has been launched targeting over 9 million children for typhoid, measles, rubella, and polio. The campaign, led by Gavi and partners, aims to vaccinate nearly half of the country's population within a week.

Malawian Widows Lose Land Rights, Face Abuse in Cultural Practices

05 Apr 2023  |  Reuters
The article discusses the plight of Malawian widow Salome Nkalawire, who lost her land rights following her husband's death due to cultural norms. Despite women making up a significant portion of the agricultural workforce in Malawi, they often lack access to land and face rights abuses. The article highlights the challenges women face in both matrilineal and patrilineal systems of inheritance and land ownership in Malawi. Legal reforms have been made, including a 2015 law to ensure fair property distribution, but cultural practices continue to discriminate against women. The article includes insights from various experts and organizations working on gender equality and women's rights in Malawi.

‘Bionitrate’ made from urine is starting to help yields for farmers in Malawi

05 Apr 2023  |  Climate Home News
In Malawi, subsistence farmers are turning to an innovative and affordable fertiliser called 'Bionitrate', made from human urine. This alternative to chemical fertilisers is gaining popularity due to its low cost and effectiveness. The urine is collected, matured, and processed into a fertiliser that is safe and environmentally friendly. Environmental Industries, a private non-profit company, is championing Bionitrate and training farmers to produce and use it. The initiative is seen as a sustainable solution to the high costs of chemical fertilisers and the challenges of soil nutrient depletion and climate change. The government's Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP) has been costly and not fully effective, making Bionitrate a promising alternative for the country's agricultural sector.

‘Bionitrate’ made from urine is starting to help yields for farmers in Malawi

05 Apr 2023  |  Climate Home News
In Malawi, subsistence farmers are turning to an innovative and affordable fertiliser called 'Bionitrate', made from human urine. This alternative to chemical fertilisers is gaining popularity due to its low cost and effectiveness. The urine is collected, matured, and processed into a fertiliser that is safe and environmentally friendly. Environmental Industries, a private non-profit company, is championing Bionitrate and training farmers to produce and use it. The initiative is seen as a sustainable solution to the high costs of chemical fertilisers and the challenges of soil nutrient depletion and climate change. The government's Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP) has been costly and not fully effective, making Bionitrate a promising alternative for the country's agricultural sector.

Cyclone Freddy points to urgent need for climate-smart solutions in Malawi

15 Mar 2023  |  thenewhumanitarian.org
Cyclone Freddy has caused significant destruction in southern Malawi, resulting in over 200 deaths, displacement of more than 20,000 people, and extensive damage to homes, infrastructure, and agriculture. The government has declared a state of disaster in the affected regions. The cyclone's impact highlights the vulnerability of Malawi's agriculture-dependent economy to climate change and the need for climate-smart agricultural policies. Experts suggest rethinking agricultural policies, moving away from reliance on chemical fertilizers, and adopting sustainable practices. The current subsidy programs for fertilizers and seeds have been criticized for their unsustainability and corruption. The government is urged to invest in agricultural extension services, halt land degradation, and secure international financing for climate adaptation to prevent further impoverishment of farmers.

Is the first malaria vaccine worth the cost?

17 Nov 2022  |  Devex
The World Health Organization has recommended the expanded use of the RTS,S malaria vaccine among children in regions with high malaria transmission. The vaccine, currently in pilot phases in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi, is set to be rolled out nationally. John Tanko Bawa from PATH-Centre for Vaccine Innovation and Access highlights the vaccine's potential to save thousands of lives annually. However, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other experts have raised concerns about the vaccine's low efficacy, high cost, and logistical challenges. Despite these concerns, some studies and experts argue that the vaccine is cost-effective and crucial for malaria control.

When public budgets are gender-responsive

05 Jul 2022  |  mwnation.com
Chikuli ward councillor Beatrice Mlatho has seen a shift towards more gender-responsive budgeting in Mulanje District Council, supported by the European Union, UN Women, and local NGOs since 2015. This approach has led to equitable resource distribution and increased educational completion rates among girls in areas with high child marriage rates. The National Local Government Finance Committee and local councils are aligning development projects with Malawi's 2063 agenda for inclusive wealth and self-reliance. The Malawi Local Government Association, led by Hadrod Mkandawire, is implementing gender-responsive budgeting guidelines to ensure no societal group is left behind. UN Women's Faith Mvula notes the project's role in enhancing accountability and lobbying for increased funding. Human rights activist Emma Kaliya and Senior Chief Kachindamoto of Dedza District recognize the positive impact on women's participation and the reduction of child marriages.

Malawian farmers turn to organic alternatives as fertilizer costs rise

11 Apr 2022  |  www.devex.com
Malawian farmers, facing high chemical fertilizer costs, are increasingly turning to organic alternatives. Sabawo Chikuni, a farmer from Neno district, has reduced cultivation costs by 80% using organic fertilizers. The FAO has warned that the Russian invasion of Ukraine will impact global food supply, as Russia is a key fertilizer exporter. Experts in Malawi predict fertilizer prices could triple due to the conflict. Organic fertilizers, such as those from biodigesters, are seen as cost-effective and environmentally friendly. Organizations like Environmental Industries and Our World International are promoting these sustainable practices, while the government is urged to shift subsidies from chemical to organic fertilizers. The International Food Policy Research Institute suggests that while subsidies increase fertilizer use and yields, they discourage organic methods.

Can Malawi’s agricultural inputs program improve food security?

09 Feb 2022  |  www.devex.com
The Affordable Inputs Program (AIP) introduced by the Malawian government in 2020, with a budget of 160 billion Malawian kwacha, aims to improve food security by subsidizing farm inputs for subsistence farmers. Despite a significant budget increase compared to its predecessor, the Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP), AIP has faced challenges such as supply issues, corruption, and criticism over its effectiveness. Agriculture policy experts suggest that subsidizing large-scale farming could be more effective. The International Monetary Fund has also recommended targeted cash transfers over the AIP's narrow focus on maize production. The Norwegian Mission to Malawi is looking to assist in strengthening the program. Malawi's Minister of Agriculture, Lobin Lowe, acknowledges the program's challenges but commits to improvements, while a government spokesperson cites a maize surplus as evidence of AIP's success.

Malawian students face yet another setback after tropical storm Ana

01 Feb 2022  |  Devex
Tropical storm Ana has caused significant disruptions in Malawi, displacing nearly 1 million people and severely impacting the education sector. The storm has damaged school infrastructure, displaced students, and exacerbated existing challenges from COVID-19. Education specialists emphasize the need for psychosocial support and targeted assistance for girls to mitigate the long-term effects. Humanitarian organizations like UNICEF and UNFPA are providing essential aid, including learning materials and dignity kits, to support affected students and families.

Are COVID-19 vaccine mandates the next step for African countries?

13 Jan 2022  |  devex.com
African countries, including Malawi, Ghana, and Zimbabwe, are considering or have implemented COVID-19 vaccine mandates for front-line workers, despite opposition from civil rights groups and the World Health Organization. The Malawi Human Rights Commission and other organizations argue that mandatory vaccination violates human rights and advocate for voluntary vaccination and public education. However, public health experts like Dr. John Nkengasong of the Africa CDC suggest mandates may be necessary if voluntary uptake is insufficient. In South Africa, private sector institutions like Discovery Limited have seen increased vaccination rates following mandates. The debate continues as governments seek to balance public health needs with individual rights.

‘Everything is changing’: the struggle for food as Malawi’s Lake Chilwa shrinks

30 Aug 2021  |  the Guardian
Lake Chilwa in Malawi is experiencing severe water level fluctuations due to climate change and deforestation, impacting the livelihoods of over 1.5 million people. Fishermen and farmers are struggling as the lake's productive value has significantly decreased. Efforts to adapt, such as the Lake Chilwa Basin Climate Change Adaptation Programme, have had limited success. Experts highlight the increasing frequency of the lake drying out and the need for better environmental practices to mitigate the effects of climate change.

What to do with piles of plastic waste?

22 Jun 2021  |  www.nationofchange.org
The article discusses the urgent need to address plastic waste management, highlighting the efforts of Our World International (OWI) in Malawi. OWI trains women in Kawale Township to manage waste, turning it into usable products and creating employment opportunities. The article emphasizes the environmental and economic benefits of these initiatives, while also noting the challenges posed by poor waste management infrastructure and the persistence of thin plastic production despite bans. Key figures such as Rose Muhondo and Steven Chiunjira are praised for their contributions to waste management and community development.

How Corruption Derails Development in Malawi

21 May 2021  |  Foreign Policy
Corruption in Malawi has severely hindered the country's development, with public funds being siphoned off by private individuals and politically connected elites. Despite democratic reforms, corruption remains rampant, affecting economic growth and public services. The misuse of COVID-19 funds has further highlighted the issue, with calls for greater accountability and action from the government. President Lazarus Chakwera has pledged to combat corruption, but skepticism remains due to unfulfilled promises and ongoing issues.

What to Do With Piles of Plastic Waste?

10 May 2021  |  YES! Magazine
The article discusses the global issue of plastic waste and highlights various community-driven initiatives in Malawi, Tasmania, and Zimbabwe that are turning plastic waste into valuable products and creating employment opportunities. In Malawi, women are trained to manage waste and create products like organic manure and recyclable materials. Tasmania has pioneered the use of recycled plastic asphalt for roads, reducing both waste and carbon emissions. Zimbabwe's Kudiwa Waste and Energy Solutions is producing construction materials from recycled plastic, providing jobs and promoting a clean environment. The article emphasizes the importance of local solutions and entrepreneurial efforts in addressing the plastic waste crisis.

Malawi audit confirms extensive mismanagement of COVID-19 funds

29 Apr 2021  |  devex.com
An investigative audit in Malawi has uncovered extensive mismanagement of COVID-19 funds, leading to the firing of Minister of Labour Ken Kandodo for improper use of allowances. The audit, part of Malawi's commitments to the International Monetary Fund, revealed unprocedural procurement, irregular allowances, and wasteful expenditure totaling over 720 million Malawian kwacha. Over 60 arrests have been made, and President Lazarus Chakwera has warned of more to come. While development partners like the EU and UN express support for the government's anti-corruption efforts, local civil society members criticize the government for not doing enough to prevent corruption and its impact on the country's pandemic response and development.

In Malawi, teachers’ unions are rallying to protect vulnerable learners from Covid fallout

12 Jun 2020  |  Equal Times
The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated societal issues in Malawi, particularly affecting education and child labour. School closures have led to increased underage pregnancies, marriages, and child labour, especially in rural areas where children are forced to work on farms. Despite government efforts and initiatives by organizations like the Teachers Union of Malawi and Plan International to combat these issues, the pandemic has reversed many gains. Emergency educational solutions like radio lessons and tablet-based learning have been introduced, but challenges remain in ensuring all children return to school and continue their education.

The Mozambique crisis drove many people into neighboring Malawi. These refugees were paying the burden of the power struggle between the country's political powers.

Superstition is driving the barbaric trade in albino body parts. But who runs this trade?

Parties for female representatives

24 Jul 2018  |  Malawi 24
Political parties in Malawi are preparing for next year's tripartite elections, emphasizing the importance of the 50-50 agenda for women empowerment in decision-making positions. The Malawi Congress Party (MCP) is actively promoting women by reducing nomination fees for female candidates and placing them in key positions. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) acknowledges the significant role of women in socioeconomic development and aims to provide a level playing field in party primaries. The newly launched United Transformation Movement (UTM) has received a strong response from aspiring female candidates. Civil Society Organizations are intensifying advocacy for women's participation in elected positions, supported by the 50-50 management agency's campaign skills incubator.

Poor civics DPP's ploy to rig next year's polls - Kaliati

15 Jul 2018  |  Malawi 24
Patricia Kaliati, MP for Mulanje West, accuses the government and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of deliberately withholding funds for civic and voter education in certain districts to rig the upcoming elections. Information Minister Nicholas Dausi dismisses these claims as ignorant. Other political figures and civil society leaders, including Mark Katsonga Phiri and Gift Trapence, criticize the poor handling of voter registration, citing voter apathy and lack of proper education. The Malawi Electoral Commission acknowledges challenges in voter registration, attributing low turnout to public disillusionment with elected leaders.

Malawi: the underage domestics denied a childhood

08 Jul 2013  |  Equal Times
Mercy, a 14-year-old orphan from Malawi, works as a domestic worker in Blantyre to support her family, highlighting the severe issue of child labour in Malawi. Despite laws and international treaties aimed at protecting children, approximately 1.5 million Malawian children are child labourers. The article discusses the harsh conditions these children face, including low wages and exploitation. Efforts by organizations like the International Labour Organization and local NGOs are noted, but significant legal and enforcement challenges remain. Government initiatives and international programs have made some progress, but much more needs to be done to address the root causes and provide education and better opportunities for these children.

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