An 18 month-old radio program that attracted a faithful following in Malawi is in danger of ceasing, thanks to expensive phone rates and limited bandwidth. The program's host, Malawian blogger Victor Kaonga, has made an appeal for the program to find sponsorship and be saved.
Victor in the studio
Malawian blogger Victor Kaonga, a broadcast journalist as well as a Global Voices author for Malawi, has issued an appeal for sponsorship to save his TransWorld Radio program where he interviews Malawians living outside Malawi in the Chichewa language. It is titled A Malawi Kunja kwa Malawi (Malawians outside Malawi). It has been running weekly since January, 2007.
Victor writes in his blog that the program is threatened with closure due to prohibitive costs of international calling rates and low Internet bandwidth in Malawi. He was able to meet the costs of running the program from his living allowances whilst in Sweden, where he was studying for his masters' degree in global journalism. Victor successfully defended his thesis and returned to Malawi in June, where he has continued the TransWorld Radio broadcasts.
In reminiscing about the program, Victor writes:
It has been a wonderful 18 (plus) months of programming with A Malawi Kunja Kwa Malawi. ‘Wonderful' in the sense that my understanding of the global role of Malawians has increased while at the same time imagining the impact of the absence of such Malawians at home.
Malawians are said to be an itinerant people, found in parts of the world both well known and obscure, a fact easily noticed in the geographies of the places where Victor has found Malawians to interview.
Victor gives a glimpse of the composition of the 76 Malawians he has hitherto interviewed, noting that they have represented various parts of the globe, including Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia, the Americas, the Pacific and the Caribbean.
Malawians outside Malawi frequently discuss the role of the Malawian diaspora in Malawian affairs, and Victor touches on this sentiment when he lists the four ways in which the program is unique:
# This is the first radio programme in Malawi featuring Malawians abroad on a regular basis.
# It is a programme that helps link on air the locals with their relatives near and far.
# The programme also helps extend the influence and ministry of radio in Malawi.
# It is a programme that is in tune with the modern times in this ever-growing global village.
Victor expresses the hope that he will find the sponsorship needed to enable the program to continue, and one response to his post has already provided suggestions. Clement Nthambazale, another Malawian blogger currently studying for a PhD in Japan, has commented on Victor's post, launching with the hope that the program will be saved:
This programme MUST NOT die. I hope that you will be able to find some some sponsors who will help with production costs especially with the increasing number of listeners.
Secondly, I would like to let you know that you can phone at very cheap rates from Malawi to other countries.Sometime last year,I attended a Voice over IP Workshop which was organized by MACRA. After the workshop, I wrote a blog post highlighting the proceedings of the Workshop and my concerns on Malawi's delay in setting up a VoIP policy. Through this post, I got connected to Havar Bauck,who works for Vyke, a Norwegian company in the callshop and callback market…