No matter where I will be or whoever I shall become, always I will personally be on social media and email forums and use them for the promotion of the causes that I believe in and my country Malawi in general. In this day and age, anyone who is operating in the public sphere, ignores the power of social media and cyber-communication at their own peril.
On many occasions, I have heard several of my countryfolk disparaging Malawians on social media and email forums who are debating and sharing opinions. They say “That is all just talk. You Facebook people are not on the ground in the village. We go to the villages and sit with people under trees and hear their problems”. My response is this:- Well, fair enough. I just hope you are making a difference and uplifting the area. However, you should strive to break this cast barrier and bring your people on the ground into the New World …. Your World. Please stop keeping your people down thinking they do not deserve what you have in Your World, by just visiting them now and then reminding them of the separation of your classes and their poverty.
In many countries, citizens are using social media and the internet to organize and effect progress in their communities and the country at large. That is why in our area of Thondwe, Zomba, we have an initiative to get Chiefs, Chiefs’ Advisors, Head Teachers, Community Organizers and Community Policing Volunteers access to “The Highway” so we can effectively organize against poverty. The goal is, by end of 2014, to have our leaders in Thondwe area connected so we are all “under our tree together” from wherever we are and leveraging on whatever resources we collectively and individually have access to.
There is a lot that my Village Chief and I can achieve through Whatsapp, a blog, Skype or email; all under our own virtual tree – That is my phone and that of my Chief. How about if we bring in Chiefs and Head Teachers from surrounding villages? What more if we can bring other daughters and sons of Thondwe to get in on it or just support the initiative? There is no telling how much we can achieve. Yes, if the chief does not have a smartphone, get them one. If they do not have a data bundle, get them some. Poor or no signal deep down in the village? We will install booster antennae for that. How? There are many people from Thondwe that I know who can facilitate this, each for one Chief or a Head Teacher or any other Community Leader who needs a push to be able to participate. Yes They Can!
You can do this in your area as well. Do not wait for someone else to come and develop our areas. You say what? Government? Well, government has its own “grand” priorities through Parliament, at Capital Hill or other arms. We deal with our local priorities under “our trees” organizing against poverty.
After observing a lot of retirees, I have learnt that there is no better place to retire than in one’s own home area. So let us uplift our home communities with basic facilities NOW while we have the capability and resources. Let us do this so we give ourselves options to retire comfortably around our own peoples while raring rabbits, goats, attending initiation ceremonies etc etc – all not too far from basic facilities. Going to hassle and chaos of the city when we really need to go there.
Let’s Do This!