There are not many people in this world who can lay claim to live their dreams in their twenties, but one young Malawian lady based in the capital Lilongwe, is certainly one of the few odd ones out in the surreal planet.
Of her many exploits, one thing that stands out above all is that she always sets her eyes on the prize. She’s daring and isn’t afraid to tread where others dread.
At face value, Tamanda Ellen Chabvuta may easily pass for any ordinary girl next door and be mistaken for an Average ‘Joana,’ but when you get into her world, you will at the speed of light realise that she is an extraordinary young combatant on a mission – a foot soldier against the ills of poverty and hunger.
She’s bright and smart. She’s young and yet filled with wisdom, inspiration, determination. She’s passionate and has an open mind. She dedicates herself to fighting hunger and poverty through her work in telling stories on agriculture, climate change, poverty and hunger through the lens.
The 26 year-old Agricultural Communications Specialist (ACS) and Video Journalist (VJ) is in the war zone frontline, fighting against hunger and poverty dedicating and committing herself by providing farmer based educative extension information for smallholder farmers with inclusiveness of women and children through work.
Tamanda Chabvuta has been short-listed among the world youth leaders for the Global Landscape Video award to be held in Paris, France from December 5th to December 6th, 2015 and is inconspicuously asking the Malawian people to vote for her in large numbers to enable her bring the gong home from the French capital.
“I believe we need extensive educative platforms to solve challenges we are facing in the restoration of our natural resources. Please help get this message across by voting for my video entry into the Youth Global Landscapes Forum,” she pleads.
But how did Tamanda became so motivated?
She explains to Nyasa Times: “My parents always pushed me to work hard in class. My mum always told me to believe in myself. Nonetheless, even as I found myself excelling in my studies, I really never got to realize the encouraged to give it all and that motivated me to go an extra mile to do better.”
Tamanda explicates that her elder sister Chikondi Chabvuta, who is a graduate of Bunda College of Agriculture and an award winning agriculturist is her guiding light and pushed her to work even harder.
“I think it runs in the bloodline. Both my father and my sister are graduates of Bunda College of Agriculture and both work in the agriculture industry. My sister led the way and I followed. It’s my sister’s hard working spirit that motivated me as I grew up. She has always pushed me to work hard,” she asserts.
She further explains that it was seeing her older sister, Chikondi getting selected to Mary Mount Girls Secondary school in Mzuzu City made her want to also go to Mary Mount secondary school.
“When she was selected to Mary Mount Secondary school I also wanted to go to Mary Mount Secondary school because everybody said it was a good school and I did and when she passed her MSCE exams with flying colours to earn herself a place at Bunda College of agriculture she even exerted more pressure on me that I had to engage an extra gear so I could go to university. I pushed hard to go to college too and luckily my hard work paid the dividends. I got selected to Chancellor College.” she proclaims.
Tamanda divulges that when she got into Chancellor College (Chanco) she was enrolled for a Bachelor of Arts degree programme in Humanities and for a moment she had thought that she taken a turn and skidded into different path from her father and sister line of work.
But it was never meant to be.
“Like most of my classmates, people would often take‘Mickey Bliss,’ always poking fun at me, mocking me and constantly winding me up saying that the course which I was studying was nothing near lucrative in the real corporate world because it was “unmarketable.” But that didn’t stop me believing in me until I finally graduated with English Literature as my major; I was ready to face the world,” explicates Tamanda.
She adds: “After graduating from Chanco in 2010, my passion for work in the development field came after realizing how unfulfilled I was with the job I was doing. I wanted to something challenging and gratifying. I didn’t just want to earn a living, I wanted to do something that I could be making a difference to the people and to my country and to the world.”
Tamanda wasn’t so sure what do that was so rewarding and heart-warming.
“I think it was a twist of fate I found myself getting a job in the agriculture industry. I Joined National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi (NASFAM) as a communication specialist and as they say, the rest is history. It was my destiny to work in the agriculture industry and I don’t like it, I love it. It’s rewarding working with farmers and record and report their stories. For me it was just a matter of a delayed destiny,” she chaffs in a matter of fact tone.
While Tamanda is ready to pounce on the prestigious award in Paris, the world is getting ready to be wooed by a galaxy of the world’s youngest bright stars on their endeavours to fight hunger and poverty especially those from the third world.
Malawi, often referred to as ‘The Warm Heart of Africa’ and the friendliest nation in the world is one of the most beautiful landscaped countries on the planet and is greatly gifted by nature and has substantial natural resources, including fertile soils, regular rainfall with agriculture as the most important sector of the economy employing over 80 percent of the work force.
In the former British agro-based protectorate, Malawi formerly, Nyasaland, agriculture is the mainstay of the economy and tobacco and coffee are the backbones of the economy and accounts for the bulk of export revenues but the agricultural sector remains the most neglected and disregarded sector and this is why Tamanda was inspired to work in the agriculture industry – she wanted to help make a difference.
During the Youth Global Landscape Awards, in which Chabvuta has been nominated for a prestigious video award, the world leaders are set to agree on new climate and development goals and will also track the progress countries are making in achieving development goals that will set the pace in the years ahead.
Chabvuta, who is planning to do her Master’s Degree in Development related media studies, declares she can’t be any happier than she is, saying it will be an honour for her to represent her country on the world stage in Paris and win the award.
“I am very excited but I plead with my fellow Malawians to vote for my video entry. I greatly appreciate the overwhelming support I am getting,” she asserts.
- Please follow this link http://bit.ly/1GWxqrL to vote as many times for Tamanda Chabvuta’s video entry. To vote, click on the green heart icon above the video window then your vote gets processed. Voting is on until November 15, 2015.