Lift off! Mwatipasa is launched.

IMG_0833.jpgLast night in Lilongwe Malawi, we celebrated the launch of Mwatipasa. Mwatipasa is a new youth development organisation in Malawi, and is the ‘sister’ of Watipa.

Watipa is proud of our origins in Malawi – with our name from the North of the country, and with 14 of the inaugural scholars and 2 of the founding members being Malawian – we already have a strong foundation here. The name ‘Watipa’ is from the North, in Tumbuka, and literally means ‘has been provided for.’ ‘Mwatipasa’ is the plural version.

We have decided to innovate and pilot a new way of working by registering locally in Malawi, to enable growth of the local programme, and to honour the origins of the global programme in Malawi. We are excited to see the fruit and the learning from this approach.

Mwatipasa logo (1)Mwatipasa’s slogan is ‘Enabled young people providing for others.” The organisation will support scholarships, mentorship and career development in 3 ways:

  1. education (primary, secondary and tertiary),
  2. entrepreneurship, and
  3. sport and community development.

The most exciting part of the launch last night was the opportunity to bring together the Watipa scholars in Malawi for the very first time. A few knew each other already; others had not met before. The energy and enthusiasm for the launch of Mwatipasa was contagious!

IMG_1026It was important to the founders of Mwatipasa that the essence of youth leadership was front and centre in Mwatipasa from the very beginning. The event opened with a poem written by Chanju Mwase, who is studying nursing and midwifery and is one of the inaugural Watipa scholars, when she took on the persona of ‘Mwatipasa:’

“My name is Mwatipasa. My elder sister is Watipa. I was born on 19th September 2017. I like educated people, that’s why I was born. I am generous and kind. I will be sharing with others what I have… Enabled young people providing for others, that’s my moto… My birth today will mean a lot to my dependents… Indeed let’s give them a hand.”

IMG_0935We were honoured at the launch event last night to have His Excellency, Maher El Adawy, The Egyptian Ambassador in Malawi. His remarks were encouraging, as he explained that “no-one can underestimate the importance of education.” He also advised us to be mindful of measuring impact, and looked forward to noting our progress over the coming year.

Remarks followed from a Distinguished Speaker, Dr J. Chimombo, who is the Director of Basic Education with the Ministry of Education of the Government of Malawi. He drew connections between the work of Mwatipasa and the Sustainable Development Goals for Health, Quality Education, and Labour. He also went on to commend the three-pillared approach of Mwatipasa, describing how it is aligned with the priorities the Government of Malawi for the development and growth of the country.

It was a brilliant celebration with music, laughter, shared with a supportive crowd, and the friends and family of Watipa in Malawi. In one of the conversations after the official proceedings, an old friend said that is about much more than passion – it is about having the heart to help others. At Watipa our roots are proudly within the country that calls itself the ‘warm heart of Africa.’ Now with Mwatipasa as our sister, we will be able to sustain and grow in a new way. Happy birthday Mwatipasa!

Lucy Stackpool-Moore

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