President Chakwera congratulates Malawian Nkiwane for the Queen’s MBE honour

Malawian Pretty Nkiwane (nee Chikowi), a children’s services manager at Hertfoldshire County Council in the United Kingdom, has been awarded the prestigious Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) which is the British Queen’s New Year’s Honours List for 2021, in recognition of her outstanding commitment and dedication to children’s social care during the CoVID-19 pandemic.

Pretty Nkiwane MBE

The Queen’s New Year’s Honours List, published on December 31, recognises the outstanding service to community for people across the United Kingdom.

According to a report by, Nkiwane’s grandfather was also a recipient of an MBE in 1957, for his work within the local government in Malawi.

The report says Nkiwane earned the accolade for her hard work and dedication to safeguarding children throughout the CoVID-19 pandemic — “working with young people, families and social workers to achieve the best outcomes during challenging times”.

Malawi High Commission to the United Kingdom posted on its Facebook page that President Lazarus Chakwera has since congratulated Nkiwane for the prestigious MBE Award and has expressed gratitude to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II “for recognising her selfless contribution”.

Dr. Thomas Bisika, Malawi High Commissioner to the UK

Malawi High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Dr Thomas Bisika, was optimistic that the award will encourage her to continue serving her community with dedication.

“This is an honour to Malawi and I am sure this award and the congratulatory message from His Excellency the President will motivate Pretty Nkiwane to do more for her community,” Bisika said.

Nkiwane is reported to have began her career in social work back home in Malawi where she first went to school at St. Joseph Primary School and St. Marys Secondary School in Zomba.

She has spent more than 19 years working at the Hertfordshire County Council where she has also helped implement the trailblazer Hertfordshire family safeguarding model and introduced a frontline programme for social work training and recruitment.

Nkiwane is quoted by The Connect as saying: “I feel so humbled to receive such an honour and I must say this is part of teamwork with colleagues and staff in my service.

“I receive this on behalf of all my colleagues within family safeguarding services who have worked so tirelessly and in particular during the CoVID- pandemic. Their commitment to the children in our community is second to none.”

The report says Nkiwane’s 19-year career with the county council had many other successes that include helping implement the Hertfordshire Family Safeguarding Model, which has been adapted by other local authorities.

She also helped devise and implement the frontline programme for social worker training and recruitment.

“As a leader within family safeguarding, I have ensured that our staff are supported and their wellbeing is central to my commitments, which is now particularly important in the current COVID pandemic, so that they too can deliver a safe service,” she is further quoted as saying.

“In my current position, this was always, and remains my responsibility, especially at a time when social workers were among the very few professionals visiting children and families in the home.

“I think these social workers have shown their passion and accountability, therefore it’s my view that they are the unsung heroes.”

Jo Fisher, executive director of children’s services at Herts County Council, is quoted in the report as saying:

“We are immensely proud of Pretty whose MBE is so richly deserved in recognition of her diligent and dedicated work to the children, young people and families of Hertfordshire.”

Frank Cooke, former headmaster for Kamuzu Academy

This will probably be the third MBE to be attached to Malawi, as in 2005, former headmaster for Kamuzu Academy, Frank Cooke from Manchester was also awarded an MBE, for helping to “transform a school in the bush” to earn a status as the ‘Eton of Africa’.

A report in 2005 by Manchester Evening News (MEN) said, Cooke — who by then had served as headmaster for eight years — also described the award as “a great honour” and that he was “very proud for the school”.

“It is a privilege to work in Malawi at a school that has survived some difficulties and gone from strength to strength,” he was quoted as saying then.

“Kamuzu Academy has been described as the Eton of Africa because of its very high educational standards and ethos.

“It is a first-class grammar school with a library that is one of the best in its class. The pupils wear uniforms and boaters on the lines of the UK’s best public schools.”

Cooke had worked in Malawi for more than 25 years that he eventually ended up teaching the children of former pupils at the school — “and that is a very rewarding feeling”, he had told MEN.

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