COSOMA disburses K20m to Malawian arts associations

The Copyright Society of Malawi (COSOMA) has disbursed a K20 million grant to 10 Malawian rights holder associations to aid them implement various artistic projects.

Financed by the Royal Norwegian Government, the financial grant is part of the third phase of the Cultural Support Scheme (CSS) which is administered by the society.

The benefiting arts associations have received K2 million each as initial funding to kick-start their projects but will eventually receive a total grant of not exceeding K4 million during an estimated period of one year.

The associations include Journalists Union of Malawi (JUMA), Photographers Association of Malawi (PHOTAMA), Musicians Association of Malawi (MAM), National Theatre Association of Malawi (NTAM) and Malawi Union Writers (MAWU).

FAMA acting President Ezaias Mkandawire receiving his association cheque from Prof Mtenje.-Photo by Lucky Mkandawire/Nyasa Times

Others are Book Publishers Association of Malawi (BPAM), Visual Arts Association of Malawi (VAAM) and three new comers- Film Association of Malawi (FAMA), Poetry Association of Malawi (PAM) and Malawi Folk, Dance, Music and Song Society (MFODMAS).

Chairman of Grants Committee for CSS, Professor  Al Mtenje, said the overall goal of the support is to improve the artistic values of the artists and artistic achievements of the associations.

“The overall objective is to contribute to the promotion of cultural expressions and cultural industries in Malawi,” Prof Mtenje said Tuesday during the cheque presentation ceremony in Blantyre.

He said CSS also aims at raising the knowledge and quality of skills amongst the artists and rights holder associations in developing their specific type of art.

“The other objectives of the grant are to facilitate the establishment of good governance practices in the running of arts associations, to enhance the development of sustainably initiatives of the associations and also to promote mainstreaming of gender, HIV and AIDS and environment,” he explained.

The scheme was established in 2005 and six associations participated in the first phase (2005-2007). The second phase was implemented between 2008 and 2011 and seven associations took part while the current phase is expected to run up to 2013.

Commenting on the first two phases, Prof Mtenje, while hinting on the need for associations to build initiatives that will enable them become self-reliant even after the CSS, said he was pleased that the grants had greatly improved the associations’ visibility.

“The associations concentrated on several areas such as capacity building, promotion of good governance among the leaders and building associations’ structures as most of them were operating without visible structures like secretariats.

“Through the Cultural Support Scheme, a common office was established [Arts House] where all the associations are housed and I am pleased to say that the associations are now able to operate effectively under one roof,” observed Prof Mtenje.

COSOMA’s Senior Licensing Manager, Mutty Munkhondia, said the third phase of the scheme has brought about a number of changes as compared to the first and second phases.

“During the first and second phases, all associations received equal amount despite their sizes but now we will primarily be looking at the beneficiaries of the project in terms of membership as to how many would tap the fund and their needs,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, President of the Malawi Writers Union, Mike Sambalikagwa Mvona, commended the Royal Norwegian Government for its untiring efforts in supporting the arts and cultural industry in Malawi.

Mvona observed that since the introduction of CSS rights holder associations in Malawi were now visible and well recognized both locally and internationally because they operate under one roof.

“We now have a strong foundation thanks to the Royal Norwegian Government… We urge other development partners to emulate the spirit,” he said.

VAAM President Chrisford Chayera signing the agreement.-Photo by Lucky Mkandawire/Nyasa Times

Representatives of the 10 associations pose for a group photo with Prof Mtenje (seated in a neck tie).-Photo by Lucky Mkandawire/Nyasa Times

BPAM Secretary Alfred Msadala signing the document.-Photo by Lucky Mkandawire/Nyasa Times

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