Sunday, June 20, 2010

Reach Out and Touch

TVM on my family's TV set It's Sunday June 20th as I write this, and I’ve just finished eating dinner with my host mother and host cousin Aaron. Aaron turns on the TV because the second featurette in a series that the only public television station in the country, Malawi Television (TVM) has just started. The program is called Reach Out and Touch and the commentator tours around rural communities in a particular region of the country, this particular episode featured the northern region, and interviews people living in vulnerable situations such as child headed households, people in need of and without access to medical care and the elderly living in poverty without community support.

The program does not actively ask for donations to any particular fund or organization, but instead to the featured individuals directly. Bags of maize are bought to feed children, wheelchairs for the infirmed and hospital bills paid for those who are ill. The program is only broadcast in Malawi, and all donations come from fellow Malawians. It is interesting to see that, at a time when foreign NGOs such as EWB are running programs based on “building capacity” instead of building dependence and thus avoids hand-outs, the program created by Malawians to address their own country’s issues does the opposite.



  1. Daniel I want to see more photos with you in them!! The last ones with you and some of the kids were really great and brought a great smile to my face.

    Also if you're photo-ing people tell us who you are... I 'd want to know a story or background to some of them.

    Otherwise keep posting! How is your work coming along? Have you been on a motorbike yet? Do you feel any pressure with ~2 months left?

  2. King, you touched upon an interesting issue. Inherent within sustainable NGO programs, like EWB, is matching of a chronic problem with long-term treatment. This however, does not address the acute issues plaguing the society. The TV program you viewed, as you mentioned, meets the short-term needs of individuals, something NGO have a problem doing. Together, I feel, a system that covers both the short and long-term horizons is created allowing for the continuation of society in the best possible conditions. Keep up the good work, and I’ll see you soon with some Timmies.


  3. Interesting... do you know more about who started the program? I just did a quick search online but only came up with stories about where the money is going. What does Aaron or your host family think of the program?