A political analyst and social commentator from University of Malawi’s (Unima) Chancellor College has advised First Lady Gertrude Mutharika to make needs assessment before her organization, Beautify Malawi (Beam) Trust makes donations to avoid embarrassment.
The advice follows an embarrassment situation on Saturday at Providence Girls Secondary School where her offer to renovate and rehabilitate a girls hostel gutted by fire in 2017 was turned down by Archbishop Thomas Luke Msusa.
Msusa, the chairperson of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM), a grouping of Catholic bishops in the country, told the First Lady that some donors have already been identified who would carry out the renovation exercise.
Mutharika had already brought with her 40 bags of cement and said a contractor would be on the site by the next day, Sunday.
“As Beautify Malawi, one of our focus area is construction of girls’ hostels. However, since we have been that there are already some donors who are to renovate the hostel, we will just leave the cement here for other projects,” said Mutharika.
However, political scientist Ernest Thindwa said Beautify Malawi should have done a needs assessment to find out whether the school needed the offer of renovation of the hostel before bringing the cement and hiring a contractor.
“This is the problem we have in Malawi. We just go to places of disasters without making needs assessment and we end up giving wrong things to people,” he said.
However, Beam Trust chairperson Dingiswayo Jere said the Catholic bishop did not turn down the offer by the First Lady to renovate the hostel, saying he only said what the Diocese would do on the hostel.
“We were there as the advance team of the First Lady, before the First Lady arrived and we were discussing with the school management what we could do to help renovate the hostel,” he said.
The First Lady donated 40 mattresses, among other things but Msusa said another set of 40 mattresses would be donated by other well wishers on Tuesday.
Beautify Malawi also donated 40 double deck beds, 40 school bags, plastic cups, soap, 40 suitcases among others.
The First Lady was accompanied at the school by Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Bright Msaka, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Kondwani Nankhumwa, Minister of Culture, Civic Education and Community Development, Cecilia Chazama, Home Affairs and Internal Security, Grace Chiumia and DPP General Secretary Grelzeder Jeffrey.