On the 4th of May, I received an email notifying that I was shortlisted as a Fellow for the Nyenyezi programme. As a new graduate with plans ruined due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this was a glimmer of light in a sort of dark time.
Not only was I new in the “big world” but I was also new in the Malawian environment. This programme would serve as a starting point. Where I would meet new people, get some guidance and insight into how things operate.
The programme officially launched on the 30th of May at The SUNBIRD Capital Hotel. That was when my personal journey as a fellow officially launched as well. The report will give brief accounts of my time as a fellow in our first month.
The Nyenyezi ya ku M’mawa is a collective formed by Nthanda L Manduwi to help the youths (mostly consisting of University graduates) through advocacy, creative, digital, and entrepreneurship skills (These skills have been split into four cohorts which will be discussed further in the next section.) The purpose of the Nyenyezi fellowship programme is to see the youth support each other in their various endeavours while setting up the scene for the launch of the Rainbow Conglomerate, which will take place in November 2020.
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE AND REFLECTIONS
The experience started on WhatsApp when I was added to an anonymous group by Ms. Kondowe, who was the person we would report to (as stated on the contract). Eventually got briefed on what the group was. That is where we got details about the official launch.
On the 30th of May, we officially launched. I got to physically meet other fellows. We were split into our cohorts namely: Advocacy, Creative, Digital, and Entrepreneurship. I was placed as a Writer under the digital cohort (I was going to find out what that meant).
I got to interact with fellows of my cohort, mostly with Lovemore, Mercy, and William. It was a good start. I also interacted with members of the other cohorts, but time was not in favour for deeper interaction. It has been a constant shame that because of the pandemic we would not be having a lot of such physical gatherings. Otherwise, we have been relying mostly on WhatsApp communication which I personally have not been a fan of, but we must adapt to the times.
At the launch we were briefed on what the mission was for the programme and our roles. Tasks and projects would follow with time. Things were still a bit ambiguous for me and luckily Ms Manduwi made it clear to everyone that she was available for one-on-one meetings with anyone who needed to meet with her.
Upon my meeting with Ms. Manduwi, she did exactly just that, she cleared certain things up. Mostly, the fact that we had to be proactive as fellows. We were there to help her and she was there to help us too (Problem was I didn’t know what I needed help with). The meeting followed with me being given an opportunity to help with the Advocacy cohort workshop as part of the camera crew. I was seeking for any responsibilities, so I took that without hesitation. I enjoyed the workshop, not only as part of the camera crew but as a learner to all knowledge that was being shared at the workshop.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
The first month was generally good. I could sense a lot of pieces moving and it was somewhat evident too. The program is going to be something big. Ms. Manduwi is somewhat a visionary in this aspect, with unique specialties. The cohort is a mix of different people with different skills, most seem to be driven with passion and big goals. A good space, I could only start to wonder what the next couple of months will be like.
Hopefully, I get to start to figure out what I can truly gain in return but as for now, I am okay with just serving and helping wherever I am required to help.