By Edwin Mauluka
Our World International (OWI) and US Peace Corps Mission in Malawi have led community leaders and other concerned Malawians in cleaning up Masintha ground at Kawale 2 in the city of Lilongwe.
The clean-up exercise on Friday, October 29, 2021 was part of OWI inaugural partnership with the US Peace Corps Mission in Malawi on environmental and community cleanups.
Masintha ground is famed for hosting large political and other public gatherings. Despite this, the field was chocked with piles of waste dumped by the residents such as diapers, dead dogs, home wastes as well as plastic wastes left during large gatherings.
Steven Chiunjira, OWI executive director, said it was important to clean up Masintha ground because it has national significance.
“All political parties kickstart their campaigns here and everybody across Malawi knows or probably heard about Masintha ground. But, looking at the state it was in, one would feel sorry that it has been a dumping ground for waste and it was stinking a lot. So, it was very important that Masintha wears the face that it deserves.” He explained
He then shared that this exercise marked the launch of the project that would make the ground look clean and green.
According to Chiunjira, the organization plans to transform the field with some facilities and amenities that will make the place so inviting to people wanting some fresh air.
Among others, he mentioned that the place will have some floodlights, digital billboards for income generation and water fountains across the field so that it should be clean and green throughout the year.
Chiunjira emphasized that OWI shall continue with advocacy activities to help people stop dumping waste carelessly.
Qimmah Najaeeullah ,Director of Program and Training for the US Peace Corps Mission in Malawi said their partnership with OWI on environmental activities is part instilling national service.
“Our environment program department made suggestion that we focus on partnering with community-based organization to start a project around community clean ups, that could develop into other sources of environmental trainings like tree planting and gardening. So, this is the first, of hopefully many events that can highlight for large community value of our partnership and resources that Malawi already has in terms of manpower to make a difference in a very simple way,” explained Qimmah.
Najaeeullah added that there is need for more education about the importance of waste management and need to reduce the use of plastic to prevent unnecessary environmental damage.
According to Lughano Munthali, the Environment Program Manager for US Peace Corps Mission in Malawi, through the partnership with OWI, Peace Corps is contributing to national initiatives such as clean-up campaign that was launched by the state president Dr. Lazarus Chakwera.
In his remarks, guest of honor for the event Kingsley Nepiyala, secretary for the Kawale Ward Development Committee’s (WDC), said the exercise has potential to make Lilongwe towns clean.
“When we take garbage and dump them at well designated places, we are going to make our cities look clean. Like here, OWI cleaning exercise has made Masintha ground look very clean. We would like to encourage this organization to take the program to other areas,” said Nepiyala who has since promised that their committee will take the message from the event to his area.
Similarly, Benson Chidaomba, Environmental Health Officer responsible for Cleansing Services at Lilongwe City Council hailed the initiative and encouraged many other organisations to emulate this.
He said as the council is failing to collect garbage in all residential areas due to limited resources, cleanup exercises are helping to make the towns look clean.
The clean-up exercise was participated by some community leaders in Kawale 1 and 2, Lilongwe city council team, and people from sorounding areas. The council also provided the garbage collection vehicle.
OWI is a non-profit organization in Kawale, Lilongwe that recycles, reuses, reduces and retrieves waste.