Malawi has launched The Big Issue, a magazine aimed at ending poverty according to its chairperson, John Chikago, and information and civic education minister, Patricia Kaliati. It is the first magazine of its kind in the country, modelled after Britain's magazine for the homeless, the Big Issue.
Kaliati said since the vendors that will be selling the magazine are in extreme poverty due to unemployment, buying a copy of the magazine from the organisation at K200, which is 50% of the price, and selling it to the public at K400 will help them extensively.
A statement signed by Edith Chikago who is part of the management team of the project said the first 280 vendors of The Big Issue magazine have been recruited through community-based organisations (CBO) and face-to-face interviews and will initially start in Blantyre for the initial 6-8 months before the project extends to other cities of Lilongwe and Mzuzu.
In the statement she explained that as soon as The Big Issue vendors were signed up, they underwent a training session in which The Big Issue's services and the pitch system were explained in detail. All vendors complete a training period and sign the vendor code of conduct outlining the strict rules.
Sponsors of the Big Issue Project include the Scottish Government, International Network of Street Papers, Philippe Sibaud, Director of The Ubuntu Trading Company Ltd, and producers of the first fair-trade cola on the UK Market.
Gregory Gondwe is a Malawian journalist who started writing in 1993. He is also a media consultant assisting several international journalists pursuing assignments in Malawi. He holds a Diploma and an Intermediate Certificate in Journalism among other media-related certificates. He can be contacted on . Follow him on Twitter at @Kalipochi.
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