The drive to ensure that youths are engaged in community development comes against a background where research has revealed that the youth in Malawi form 40% of the total population, indicating that Malawi is a youthful nation. It also comes in the wake of the knowledge that 15% of the youth in Malawi, aged between 15 and 24 (The National Youth Policy 2012) are unemployed. Most of such youths are idle or involved in petty piece works that cannot support their livelihoods. Commentators have always described the escalating levels of youth unemployment in Malawi as a ticking bomb if left unattended to.


Following up on a 2007 – 2008 project which the Malawi National Commission for UNESCO (MNCU) implemented, another Youth Entrepreneurial Project which is currently being implemented has embraced the same aim of empowering youths with knowledge, skills, and attitudes that can enable them embark on small scale business enterprises in order to up-lift their living standards. While the 2007-2008 project provided a once off starter pack to vulnerable youths, this time the project instituted a self help group approach with non sharing of savings and a revolving fund to enable more youths benefit from the resources. MNCU partnered with Consol Homes who monitor the revolving fund.


The Youth Entrepreneurial Project is in tandem with Government’s policy on youth development. The current Government has, in its national development agenda, prioritised youth entrepreneurship. It has thus embarked on building Community Technical Colleges where youths are being trained in various community development skills with the aim of ensuring that youths become part of Government's development agenda and that the youths are engaged or self employed. Currently Government has plans to open a Community Technical College in every Traditional Authority. This project will therefore complement Government’s efforts for youth engagement and community development through youth entrepreneurship programmes that are responsive to the needs of rural communities.

A module was developed with topics on: Self Help Groups; A Culture of Peace; Goal Setting and Aims; Democracy; Savings and Loans; Role of Parliament; Record keeping and Loan Management; Gender; Basic Business; Basic Business Practice; Youth Participation; Individual and Group Business; Human Rights; Communication and Leadership; Business Plans; Conflict Management; and Problem Solving. Using the module, 80 youths in TA Kalolo were oriented over a period of 10 days.

In today’s highly competitive sporting environment, athletes and athlete support personnel are under increasing pressure to do whatever it takes to win. As a result, the use of performance enhancing substances and methods in sport is becoming more pervasive. This phenomenon is not limited to elite athletes; young people and amateur sports enthusiasts too are being drawn into doping. Doping jeopardizes the moral and ethical basis of sport and the health of those involved in it.


UNESCO is actively involved in the anti-doping fight because of its desire to preserve fair and equitable sport and to protect young people involved in sport. http://www.unesco.org/new/en/social-and-human-sciences/themes/anti-doping/.
MNCU has championed the establishment of Malawi Anti-Doping Organisation (MADO) in collaboration with the Department of Sports, Malawi Olympic Committee, National Council of Sports and the various sports associations. MADO is currently operating from the Kamuzu Institute for Youth in Kawale in Lilongwe. The current Chairperson of the MADO is James Mwenda (jamesmwenda(at)gmail.com).

 

Under this initiative the Malawi National Commission for UNESCO:
(a) Promoted and adapted methodologies for assessing the level of inclusiveness and social sustainability of public policies and regulatory frameworks in Malawi;
(b) Conducted a coordinated and participatory national policy analysis and review, identification of policy good practices and gaps, and formulation of recommendations for policy reform;
(c) Provided technical support and policy advice to the then Ministry of Gender and Community Services and duty- bearers for the operationalization of the policy scenarios, and the design of socially inclusive policies and planning processes that acknowledge and take into consideration the roles and contributions of women and men.

The need to reflect on the moral dimension of advances in science and technology, as well as the desire to enhance the public’s health has, in many areas of the world, led to the establishment of various forms of Bioethics Committees.  In addition, the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights advocates the establishment of independent, multidisciplinary and pluralist ethics committees at national, regional, local or institutional levels.

Bioethics Committees reinforce the role of UNESCO as an international clearing house for ethical issues. Ethics committees are intended to be one of the most important intermediary bodies for the implementation of the normative instruments adopted by the member states. In many countries, experiences exist with bioethics committees at various levels of government.

However, in the majority of member states, such committees do not exist at the moment. UNESCO has initiated a program to support the establishment and operations of bioethics committees (ABC project – Assisting Bioethics Committees).

The primary focus is on National Bioethics Committees involved in policy-advice, public debate and education. Malawi is one of the few countries that have established such a committee. In Malawi the committee is called National Committee on Bioethics (NACOB) and was established in 2009 as one of the specialized committees under the National Commission for Science and Technology (NCST).

The establishment of the NACOB began when in 2007 the National Commission for UNESCO in collaboration with the then National Research Council organized an international workshop to orient stakeholders on the ABC programme of UNESCO and encourage them to establish the bioethics committees.

Since the establishment of NACOB two training workshops have been organised for the members of the Committee. The latest was held from 20 to 26May 2017 in Lilongwe.

The aim of the project and the training workshops is to strengthen capacities of members of the Committee to manage bioethical challenges and engage fully in debates on bioethics and on the identification of the ethical, legal and social implications of cutting-edge science, emerging technologies and their application for sustainable development.

The workshop culminated in a live debate on Zodiak radio on the 26 May, 2017.