Malawi hosts creative hub manager for transformational programme  

A total of selected 23 hub managers from Malawi, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe have  taken part in the recently held connect.hubs 2.0 programme, courtesy of the British Council’s Developing Inclusive and Creative Economies (DICE) initiative with the Southern Africa Arts Programme.

Karen Kumakanga: Executive director of Jubilee Enterprise
Malawian musician Praise Umali
Vanessa Chisakula: World Smash poet from Zambia
Creative hub managers

The 23 hub managers, who hail from hubs such as Mashonaland Central Creative Hub (Zimbabwe); Namibia Arts Fair (Namibia); Abantu Dance Group (Malawi); Mlambe Arts Theatre (Malawi) and Dzaleka Youth Congress (Malawi), amongst others, will take part in a one-year transformational learning programme.

The connect.hubs programme forms part of the Creative Hubs Academy, a joint learning programme by the British Council; Global innovation foundation, Nesta; and international organisation for social change, Hivos.

The programme is aimed at leaders of collectives or creative hubs who service communities and promote change in the fields of creative, social and digital innovation.

Speaking to Nyasa Times on Thursday, British Council Head of Programmes, McDonald Nyoni said Creative hubs  whether physical or virtual are a part of a worldwide movement for creative and social entrepreneurs to connect and support one another while developing their businesses in a nurturing environment.

“Participants are provided with a structured and supportive environment, which allows them to step back from their day-to-day work and gain new skills and insights to help them shape and grow their hubs,” he said.

The connect.hubs 2.0 programme is delivered in four stages. At the core of the programme is a three-day capacity-building workshop. This is followed by a period of learning in action back at their husband then a two-day coaching retreat at the end of the programme. The process is concluded with participants applying for collaboration grants.

The planning and managing of all four stages of Connect.Hubs 2.0 Malawi was delivered by a Lilongwe based creative hub, namely Jubilee Enterprise in partnership with British Council.

Jubilee Enterpriise hosted creative and social hub managers from Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi for a Malawi hubs meeting edition while The Coloured Cube will host creative and social hub managers from Mauritius, Botswana, Mozambique and South Africa – for a South Africa edition.

Executive Director of Jubilee Enterprise, Karen Chinkwita Kumakanga, says the creative economy fosters culture and creativity and contributes to income generation and self-employment in an era where unemployment is high, especially amongst women and youth.

“Jubilee Enterprise Malawi would to thank the British Council, Nesta, Hivos and other partners for creating a platform to catalyse the development of creative hubs in the region as they are another building block of our economy,” she added.

Concurring with Kumakanga, Managing Director of The Coloured Cube Mariapaola McGurk said he organisation is excited to be part of relevant and meaningful engagement between social and  creative hubs of Southern Africa.

“Hubs are a contemporary response to the changing ‘world of work’, allowing micro- businesses to thrive and create connections and opportunities. They provide access to market, skills and entrepreneurial development and promote sustainability for  creative, social and hybrid enterprises,” she noted.

The content for the three-day capacity-building workshop, which launches in November, will be delivered by Nesta UK Associate alongside selected local trainers, The Coloured Cube and British Council.

Local trainers Kudzai Mubaiwa from Zimbabwe and Lekodi Magombo from Malawi will receive training from Nesta UK Associate EllenO’Hara, which will equip them with the necessary skills to co-deliver stage 2 and 3 of the connect.hubs 2.0 programme.

In his remarks, Founder of UbuntuLab, Mutsa Samuel Kejese said with Africa on the verge of change, there is a need for people to think and feel differently about themselves.

“Tapping into authentic African creativity and nurturing a solid viable eco-system is an approach I feel will contribute to making this a reality. The connect.hubs initiative is an exciting platform that brings various stakeholders in the creative economy and dares us to not only shift the African story, but add to the global one,” he said.

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