Watipa turns 12, and 4, all in the same week…

This has been a milestone week for Watipa. Now, even more than ever, it’s so important to celebrate small moments and take the time to celebrate the really important things in life.

The ‘real’ Watipa, our namesake who lives and is at school in the north of Malawi, turned 12. Happy birthday Watipa! She is looking forward to school starting up again in July, and she will be in Standard 8. Just a few days earlier, Watipa the organisation turned 4. Happy birthday Watipa! We raised a toast to the friends near and far, whose vision, camaraderie and hard work have enabled us to get this far…

We send best regards to all friends, family and supporters of Watipa and hope that you are well and doing as best as possible during these uncertain times.

Sharing precious resources: knowledge, soap and clean water to beat COVID-19 in Malawi

This is the third in a series that profiles the work and thought leadership of Watipa scholars in their local response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despina Gwaza is a Watipa scholar in Malawi, who recently finished secondary school and is starting at College in 2020. She has been actively supporting families in her local areas, Kalowa, Liuzi, Mukwachi and Kasuza, to know about COVID-19, have more regular access to soap and clean water.

“Our aim is to improve good sanitation… people need help.”

Continue reading “Sharing precious resources: knowledge, soap and clean water to beat COVID-19 in Malawi”

Watipa scholar forms youth group to inform community and give textbooks to school children in Wowve, Malawi

This is the second in a series that profiles the work and thought leadership of Watipa scholars in their local response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Comfort Menard Comfort Menard is studying Mining Engineering in Malawi and is looking forward to classes resuming. In the meantime, he has been mobilising his peers to share information, textbooks and soap to households in his community.

Just like many other countries in the world, Malawi is not spared from the Covid 19 pandemic. As of 1st June, 2020, according to ministry of health and population, Malawi has recorded 284 cases. Out of this, four have died, fourty six have recovered, and two hundred and thirty four still remain active cases.

Due to this pandemic people particularly in my community, Wowve, live in fear and feel hopeless, because their small businesses are now on stand still due to fear of contracting the virus. In order to join forces in contributing to the fight against the pandemic in my community, Wovwe.

I decided to encourage my fellow youths and form and chair a group. As a group we conduct door to door activities where among others we civic educate the households on the importance of staying home and avoiding unnecessary movements, keeping social distance of about 1.5 meters, avoiding handshaking, and regular hand washing with soap. Continue reading “Watipa scholar forms youth group to inform community and give textbooks to school children in Wowve, Malawi”

Watipa scholars supporting their community response to COVID-19

This is the first in a series that profiles the work and thought leadership of Watipa scholars in their local response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Read about the thoughts and reflections during COVID-19 in Uganda, from Mariam Nassaka, a Watipa scholar and graduate of Social Work and Administration in 2019.
“As advocates, we need to strive to identify common patterns that could possibly lead to cheaper, long-term and healthier solutions.”

What motivated me to write? 

The rights of people mostly women and young people were at risk of violation therefore as an advocate for sexual and reproductive health rights for the most at risk of HIV, l had to come out and speak out their voice.
The zeal to fight COVID-19 in my community motivated me so much to write and suggest possible response interventions. I wanted to investigate on the perceptions of people in Uganda on COVID-19.

Continue reading “Watipa scholars supporting their community response to COVID-19”

Happy International Women’s Day: Meet an inspiring medical student from Malawi, Tiyamike Peace Malungo

Today we celebrate the inspiriting and strong women around the world, and those that support us…

Meet Tiyamike Malungo from Malawi, a Watipa scholar, who was honoured in the Dean’s List last year (2019) for her hard work and excellent scholarship in medicine. Congratulations Tiyamike!

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Tiyamike Peace Malungo, Watipa Scholar and medical student, Malawi

I am Tiyamike Peace Malungo currently in my final year of Medical school and a proud Watipa scholar since 2017.

My vision is to see my community being able to freely access quality health services. That is my greatest motivation and the reason I chose medicine and why I do it passionately.

I recently have been recognized by the Dean of Medicine as one of the best performers in my class in the last academic year (2018-2019). This is one of the new developments put in place by the Dean of Students as a way of encouraging students to do more in their academics. Continue reading “Happy International Women’s Day: Meet an inspiring medical student from Malawi, Tiyamike Peace Malungo”

Changing Perceptions: Reports launched from Positive Voices, the national survey of people living with HIV

Today is the official launch of the Positive Voices Changing Perceptions reports, with results from a community-led project guided by participants in the national Positive Voices survey.

Positive Voices is one of the largest representative surveys of people living with HIV to date in the world, with over 4,400 participants. The survey asks about health and wellbeing, medications, experiences with healthcare, met and unmet needs, sex and relationships, lifestyle issues and financial security.

The Changing Perceptions reports bring the survey data to life by aligning statistics with personal stories and experiences of people living with HIV in order to challenge attitudes and change perceptions about HIV. This is why it is titled “changing perceptions.”  Continue reading “Changing Perceptions: Reports launched from Positive Voices, the national survey of people living with HIV”

Paying it forward: Watipa scholar launches scholarship program in Malawi

PHOTO-2018-06-23-16-15-34My name is Prudence Chavula. I am a Public Administration student at The University of Malawi, Chancellor College.  From childhood, I have always been passionate about community work. Growing up, I have been through a lot myself hence the desire to contribute towards the positive regeneration of my community.

After sitting for my secondary education in 2014, I started volunteering with various organizations that operate within my community.  On the 10th of January in 2015, I started my own initiative called “Go Fund A Girl Child” with an aim of transforming my society through education. Go Fund A Girl Child advocates for girl child education and women empowerment at large. This transformation is brought about by fighting against child marriages, influencing policy and attitude changes relating to girl child education, bringing back school drop outs to school and assist rural vulnerable and orphaned girls to remain in school.

Being a Watipa scholar acts as a motivation to do more for my community. For the initiative to grow I need to have a sound financial source which I can only get once I am done with my education and become independent. Watipa came through for me when I had completely lost hope.  Continue reading “Paying it forward: Watipa scholar launches scholarship program in Malawi”

Meet a graduating scholar: Congratulations Julia Brenda Omondi, Kenya

133e2184-57a1-4c04-9281-449671678a37“Having a degree in Psychology will open a new window of job opportunities for me of which I am ready and willing to take advantage of.”

Meet Julia Omondi, a 2016 Watipa scholar, who is graduating this year with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (Counselling) from the University of Nairobi, Kenya. Congratulations Julia – your hard work has paid off!

I am very proud of how far I have come. Looking back, I started out without a steady means of getting school fees, and my grades were really affected. However, since Watipa started supporting me by paying my school fees, my grades improved. In addition, being a Watipa scholar has given me the opportunity to be a part of an international group of scholars like myself, which is always a motivation. I find myself challenged by how much other young people in different countries are doing for their communities. Plus, some conversations we have on different topics such as climate change and human sexuality also make you see things in a different light. This enables one to learn. Seeing other scholars graduate has also been motivating. Being a part of the Watipa committee that makes recommendations to the Board of Trustees has been amazing.

Sometimes, standing before the young women I reach out to, I cannot ignore the fact that some, if not most of them, view me as a role model. So sometimes I share my personal story with them. For example, in August this year I was giving a group of sponsored students a talk. The high school students had not been performing well and I used my experience with Watipa to encourage them. I shared with them that there should be gradual improvement in their grades now that they no-longer endure the burden of unpaid school fees. I used myself as an example. I am proud of the opportunities I have received to support adolescent girls and young women in the community. Continue reading “Meet a graduating scholar: Congratulations Julia Brenda Omondi, Kenya”

Keep talking mental health

Guest blog by Rose Omollo, a Watipa Scholar in Kenya, for World Mental Health Day, 10th October 2018.

As a mental health advocate I have joined a group of other mental health advocates online to raise awareness and write blogs for sharing with those who are affected and those suffering from it as well.

Mental health is a vital aspect of human life, and as the World Health Organisation says, ‘health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing of an individual and not merely the absence of a disease or infirmity.’ This phrase implies that when we are not mentally stable then it means we are not healthy. When we talk of mental illness in the African context, our community understanding is often judgmental and seen as ‘mad’ or ‘crazy’. Continue reading “Keep talking mental health”

Meet a scholar: Dalitso Mawina, Malawi

Dalitso“Since I was a young girl I have always dreamt of being a nurse!”

Meet Dalitso Mawina, a 2017 Watipa scholar, studying Nursing and Midwifery course at St Luke’s College of Nursing And Midwifery in Likwenu, Malawi.

I am Dalitso Mawina. I am 23 years old and currently awaiting my results to proceed to level 2 of my Nursing and Midwifery course at St Luke’s College of Nursing and Midwifery in Likwenu, Malawi.

Since I was a young girl I have always dreamt of being a nurse. My motivation for choosing my career was to save people’s lives in my community, as well as my country, Malawi. Continue reading “Meet a scholar: Dalitso Mawina, Malawi”