Three winners identified in Old Mutual’s #Sisonke mini-video documentary competition; Grand prize at K5.5m

Old Mutual Malawi officially presented cash awards on Monday to three winners that entered best short video documentary in the #Sisonke competition, which was launched to create awareness and to inspire collective action to mitigate, minimise and manage CoVID-19 and its effects.

The #Sisonke — Zulu word for ‘we are in it together’ (‘tili limodzi’ in Chichewa) — invited the public to submit simple videos that highlight how everyday heroes and heroines are making a positive impact in their communities in the fight against the pandemic.

Chatsika (left) and Manda present the grand prize to Ida and Ted Mwango

Launched on March 15 and ran up to May 21, the #Sisonke was a Pan-African campaign in four of the countries that Old Mutual international operates in — Kenya, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

It attracted two prizes of K1.4 million each but Old Mutual recognised one best entry from Mulanje-based Othakarhaka Charity Foundation, which was presented a grand prize of K5.5 million.

The K1.4 million winners were Voices Awake Girls Organisation and 10+ Her Period Her Pride.

Executive Director, Ida Puliwa Mwango explains in her documentary that Othakarhaka means ‘Passing on Kindness’, which is the motto for her NGO that uplifts the lives of many people in Mulanje.

She explains in the clip that their agenda includes facilitating vulnerable youths to pursue their academic goals and some of their products are at Mzuzu University, Chancellor College, Kamuzu College of Nursing, Holy Family Nursing College and several at Comboni Technical College.

They also offer palliative health care for people with incurable diseases such as cancer and HID/Aids related diseases and as well as assisting farmers with farm inputs and train them in sustainable agriculture through irrigation.

They also encourage farmers to practise agro-forestry which resulted in thousands of trees planted.

“This cash prize will go a long way to assist many more vulnerable people and we encourage other wellwishers to consider us to move forward,” she said.

Voices Awake Girls Organisation caught the eye of the judges because it empowers the girl-child through mentorship from the potential they see in themselves to enhance it.

They courage them to make good use of the talents and skills they have in order for them not to be dependent but independent and the skills they are imparted include tailoring and designing.

The organisation is also a rescue centre for abused vulnerable girls, who are assisted with academic fees.

The 10+ Her Period Her Pride, managed by Peter Mndalasini, inspired the judges in that it strives to keep girls in schools by being provided with free menstrual sanitary pads — and even trains them to produce them.

“We train them to make the sanitary pads for themselves as well as helping in its free distribution,”Mndalasini said. “We take cognizance that most vulnerable girls miss classes for up to five days a month but we shouldn’t let this happen.

“Menstrual hygiene is a natural phenomenon and needs to be treated with dignity and we are lobbying for a tax free on menstrual hygiene products.”

Old Mutual Malawi’s MD, Tawonga Manda and Marketing and Corporate Affairs Manager, Patience Chatsika both said they were impressed with the response and that the contributions were very were presented.

“Originally, the winners were supposed to be two but Old Mutual also had the prerogative to pick the entry that resonated with our brand and can be supported long term in line with our goals,” she said.

While Manda said Old Mutual’s purpose is “to champion positive futures for everyone”.

“We salute all who took the time to enter our competition and the many others who did not but stayed active in the communities. They are people who address challenges, roll up their sleeves and get going.

“They are heroes who deserve our support and thanks,” he said, adding that the judges selection was based on impact of the project on the community, sustainability and the magnitude and alignment challenges.

The competition was in recognition that the CoVID-19 pandemic is still raging and Old Mutual is continuing its positive contribution to save lives of customers and the communities it operates in.

Old Mutual takes cognizance that CoVID-19 cannot be ignored because it still poses a major threat to communities and their livelihoods and it has an extensive footprint across the continent, the company saw it wise that scale and impact of the pandemic could not go answered.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic last year, Old Mutual made several contributions towards its fight that included a K25 billion Free Mlera Life cover, which was made available to qualifying categories of approximately 25,000 registered healthcare workers across Malawi in 2020.

The cover included a K1 million sum payable in the event of death of qualifying healthcare workers, intended to provide relief to families who may have to deal with the tragic loss of a loved one.

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