By Franklin Mtambalika

As one way of encouraging school going children and young people to participate in raising awareness on negative impacts of child marriages and empowering them to become agents of change in fighting social ills, Timveni Child and Youth Media Organization has introduced a music competition targeting multi-talented young girls and boys.

This is in fulfillment of one of the objectives of the 18+ Media Project being implemented by Timveni Child and Youth Media Organization with support from Plan International Malawi and Norkring, which is to strengthen the capacity of girls and boys aged below 18 years, youths aged 19-24 years and community leaders from 13 communities in Mulanje district. 

In regards to this objective, the project will ensure that girls, boys and youths are equipped with basic media and journalism skills to enable them tackle harmful traditional practices through media program.

The three month contest seeks to provide aspiring songwriters and singers a training opportunity in song writing and eventually become citizen journalists in music.

Winners are expected to use skills acquired to observe barriers young people and children face in their communities, compose songs and use their music to influence change and norms. Through these skills the participants will also be able to practice citizen journalism and manifest it through singing talent.

Announcing the competition in Lilongwe, Timveni Child and Youth Media Organization Executive Director, Herbert Chidaya said the contest has been established after realizing children and youths in rural communities face numerous challenges but fail to bring them to the attention of authorities due to limited exposure despite having vast untapped talents. 

“Children and young people from rural communities are creative minds, but unfortunately they are given less attention when it comes to exposure and nurturing of their talent for them to meaningfully contribute to community development. 

“We want children and young people to showcase their talent through music, because I believe music is a powerful channel of communication that can be used to address social issues affecting young people and children of Malawi such as, economic inequalities, sexual and reproductive health rights, escalating cases of child marriages and teen pregnancies among others,” said Chidaya.

The project is targeting school clubs, schools, individual school going youths and children below the age of 24.

The competition will be done i-n four phases which will include the actual auditions for selected candidates, training of 10 successful applicants, the final competition event and the prize presentation ceremony which will see three overall winners walking away with cash prizes ranging from K200, 000, K150, 000 and K100, 000 for the first, second and third places respectively.

Three independent judges will be given the task to identify the best as well as mentor the children in song writing and stage performance. Timveni will select the judges with attributes to sing, own a band and caliber to mentor up and coming artists.

Auditions will be held in Mulanje and will involve calling out schools and having students audition in front of project team members. Students will be required to sing/rap a song of their choice as part of the audition. These auditions will be taped for the judges to pick the top 10, as well as for record keeping. Students in other districts will be given an opportunity to send in their audition videos via WhatsApp or Facebook. Their videos will be put together with the taped auditions for the judges to make their decision.

Details of the music competition including terms and conditions can be accessed on Timveni media platforms, Timveni online, or call the projects team on +265 885 012 345.

Closing date for receiving entries is December 10, 2020. 

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