Malawi to have first child-run TV station, Timveni

Plan Malawi’s former Radio project now Timveni Child and Youth Media Organization, has been awarded a licence by the government of Malawi to run its own child focused TV station.

Timveni will be the first child-run and child focused fully fledged TV station in Plan globally operating, alongside the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation.

Out of the 16 media companies that applied for licenses, Timveni was among the 7 that have been issued with the permit.

In 2006, Plan Malawi piloted Timveni ‘Hear Us Out’ child media project in response to article 12 of the Child Rights Convention which gives an opportunity to children to voice out issues affecting their daily lives and to realize their full potential through its radio and outreach programs.

In 2011, it was spunned off as an independent organization while receiving funding from Plan Malawi and Plan Sweden.

It has been able to empower children and to give them a chance to voice out abuses and concerns through the project at the same time being instrumental in the passage of the Universal Birth registration bill in Malawi.

Violet Banda, 19, a journalist and youth activist working to promote children’s rights in Malawi and a youth reporter for national news programme Radio Timveni, is interviewed at the Timveni studios credit: Plan Internationa

The 30-minute programme is aired once a week on a national radio station and Television of Malawi Broadcasting Corporation.

Bold step

Plan Malawi’s Acting Country Director, Lilly Omondi noted that the Malawi government is among the first in Africa to give a platform for the youth and children to own a media organisation and have their voices heard.

“This is a positive step as it will raise awareness of children’s capacity to participate in their own protection whilst seeing the live presentation of fellow children giving stories that will impact communities on child rights.” Lilly said.

“The issuance of the license will bring fruition the dream that Plan Malawi and Sweden National Office have long awaited for.

“ The reality of children’s rights being realised here in Malawi has come. We thank the government of Malawi for this bold step,” she added

The Child and youth media project was established to promote children’s rights and ensuring their voices are heard by decision makers.

Girls shout

Among other issues to be treated are girls in Malawi face different abuses and challenges like forced early marriages, walking long distances to get safe water, high drop out from school due to poverty and bad cultural practices.

Most girls do not have a platform where they can voice out issues affecting them which result into low participation and Timveni was a good platform to air voices.

Timveni’s Executive Director, Manyanda Nyasulu said the television license which has been granted by Government of Malawi will help the children and youths in the country to fully participate and express themselves freely in developmental matters.

He added that Timveni will reach out to more children and youth and challenge them to promote their rights, talents, life skills and education.

It will continue involving vulnerable children particularly girls including the disabled in the development affairs.

“Our dream is to have a media school which will train children and youth of Malawi in media skills involving them in the production of radio and television programmes.

“ This will assist them to attain exposure, experience and inspiration and also to act a tool to disseminate messages of awareness on issues of their rights,” Manyanda added.

Among other newly licensed broadcasters are Zodiak Broadcasting Station ZBS, Times Group, Adventist TV, chanco Community TV and Beta TV.

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