Cultural Fund Aims to Support Arts Sector in Malawi

August 18, 2016

In June, Hivos Southern Africa in partnership with the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Malawi launched the Cultural Fund of Malawi (CFM) aimed at contributing to a dynamic, free and diverse cultural sector for improved living standards, economic growth and poverty reduction in Malawi.

The CFM, which has a total budget of Euro 481,313, will run for three years. Hivos Southern Africa is responsible for administering and monitoring the implementation of the grant. Due to limited funding, Hivos Southern Africa and Royal Norwegian Embassy in Malawi made a strategic decision to stagger the funding across sectors.

For the first Call for Proposals under the CFM, the target is youth theatre organizations or organizations working with youth to promote freedom of expression through theatre. While the CFM’s first Call for Proposals is targeted at youth in theatre, the CFM seeks to broadly support the arts sector in Malawi.

Other strategic areas of arts and culture will be considered and further Calls for Proposals will be made so practitioners can submit proposals for consideration.

The project recognizes that there are many strands to arts and culture, such as film, design, craft, dance, fashion, music, photography and creative writing, and that there may be many different types of arts and cultural groups working to promote freedom of expression.

Hivos Southern Africa will continue to consult widely with arts and culture practitioners in Malawi, and liaise with the Royal Norwegian Embassy, to identify sectors that are in need of immediate support. This will fast track the grant making process so that non-performing arts strands in the arts and culture sector will also benefit in 2016.

Both Hivos Southern Africa and the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Malawi are firmly convinced that the arts have a key role to play in any country’s socio-economic development, and thus also in Malawi.

This is why Norway has supported many cultural activities in Malawi since 2000, especially those concerning preservation and promotion of Malawi’s tangible and intangible culture.

Hivos believes that freedom of expression is the main measure of openness in a society, and a vibrant arts and culture scene necessarily goes hand-in-hand with space for freedom of expression. An environment that tolerates dissent and welcomes new voices is also a space where arts and culture can flourish and contribute to a country’s prosperity.