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Malawians aspire to have vibrant cultural values that support socioeconomic development. In order to achieve this, the following issues should be addressed:- developing a positive work ethic; strengthening self-reliance and community participation in local development programmes; restoring self-confidence and pride in being Malawian; reducing gender inequality; enhancing a spiritualism that provides an ethical and moral base for a vibrant culture; and reducing disparities between population groups in the economy.


4.2.1 Developing a Positive Work Ethic

4.2.1. 1 Strategic Challenge
There is laxity in moral and ethical conduct, which has led to a sense of hopelessness, apathy towards work and corruption resulting in low productivity. There is also a negative and intolerant attitude towards one another. The challenge is to develop a positive work ethic that emphasizes quality service and client care and can support the growth of an efficient economic system. Strategic Options
The following options are available to meet this challenge:

  1. promoting respect for authority and rule of law;
  2. promoting awareness of the need for a positive work ethic through appropriate civic education;
  3. rewarding honest and hard working personnel and punishing poor performers;
  4. promoting the value of hard work in the school system;
  5. promoting the spirit of hard work, thrift and enterpreneurship.
4.2.2 Strengthening Self-Reliance and Community Participation Strategic Challenge
Malawi is heavily dependent on donors. In addition, Malawians depend on government for the provision of goods and services. This situation has been aggravated by political statements, which promise help from the government. This has killed the self-help and hard working spirit among Malawians. The challenge, therefore, is to inculcate a spirit of self-reliance at national and local level. Strategic Options
The Strategic Options to strengthen the spirit of self-reliance and community participation include:

  1. reducing and rationalizing government borrowing and donor aid;
  2. promoting decentralization programs for effective local participation;
  3. providing training in participatory development planning and implementation techniques;
  4. promoting communal work and the spirit of helping one another;
  5. promoting gender balanced community participation through mass education, particularly of leaders at grassroots, level; and
  6. encouraging district associations in towns so that people remember their roots.
4.2.3 Restoring Self-Confidence and Pride in Being Malawian Strategic Challenge
Malawians have low self-esteem. They have no confidence in local products and in their culture. The challenge is to restore self -confidence and pride in being Malawian. Malawians must be able to identify themselves with their country, their cultural heritage and their indigenous products. Malawians must also be assertive and confident and be free from servitude and low self-esteem. Strategic Options
The Strategic Options include:

  1. developing a National Cultural Policy that advocates and facilitates the promotion of national unity by instilling common values and goals;
  2. defining, documenting and promoting a Malawian identity;
  3. defining and promoting artifacts, crafts, arts and sports of such quality that would engender pride in being Malawian;
  4. enhancing quality control to ensure good quality of local products;
  5. enhancing the role of Standards Boards to ensure good quality local products;
  6. disseminating and displaying artifacts and crafts through institutions and occasions such as library schools, community centres, festivals, national monuments and the National Anthem;
  7. promoting exemplary behaviour among political, religious and social leaders in the society to inspire the youth and populace to take pride in being Malawian; and
  8. changing mind set regarding the status of Malawians and their products.
4.2.4 Reducing Gender Inequality Strategic Challenges
Some cultural practices, for example preference for boys education over girls education and early marriages for girls, promote gender inequality in socioeconomic development. The challenge is to reduce gender inequality in the process of socio economic development. Strategic Options
Strategic Options include:

  1. promoting moral values that accord equal opportunities to and respect for men and women and boys and girls in the workpiqW0, in schools and in society,
  2. promoting gender equity through affirmative action;
  3. developing appropriate and gender responsive management systems by intensifying staff training and sensitization to different gender needs;
  4. building institutions and local capacity to mainstream gender into traditional institutions, family and community life;
  5. conducting gender sensitization and training campaigns at all levels;
  6. and appointing men to at least 50% of gender related portfolios.
4.2.5 Enhancing Spiritualism as an Ethical and Moral Base for Vibrant Culture Strategic Challenge
General laxity in moral and ethical conduct and lack of code of conduct for public leaders has led to the acceptance and internalization of unethical and immoral values. The challenge is to promote spiritualism and religion that enhances a vibrant culture. Strategic Options
The Strategic Options include:

  1. reviewing the constitution to clearly define "freedom of worship" as the freedom of "conscience";
  2. intensifying civic education by religious leaders on major social evils that threaten the very survival of the nation;
  3. promoting religious education in all government and private educational institutions;
  4. increasing the role of religious institutions in promoting morality and ethical behavior; and
  5. promoting religious tolerance.
4.2.6 Reducing Disparities Between Population Groups in Economic Development Strategic Challenge
Some sections of the population are enjoying greater benefits from the development process because of race, gender, and religion. The challenge, therefore, is to formulate and implement policies and programmes that will reduce disparities between population groups. Strategic Options
The following Strategic Options are available:

  1. formulating and implementing policies and programmes that will reduce disparities between population groups;
  2. strengthening the institutional capacity to manage and coordinate issues pertaining to reduction of disparities; and
  3. taking affirmative policies and action to achieve this goal.
4.2.7 Promoting Cultural Practices that Enhance Health Strategic Challenge
About 85% of the Malawian population lives in rural areas where access to health services is very limited and where traditional practices provide the base for decision making including health decisions. The challenge is to promote the utilization of traditional practices that impact positively on the health of the population; integrating them into modern medicine and discouraging taboos that hinder good health seeking behaviour. Strategic Options
Strategic Options to address this challenge include:

  1. promoting the involvement of traditional herbalists, Traditional Birth Attendants and their associations in health care delivery;
  2. planning and promoting health programmes such that they address both men and women in order to reduce misconceptions and take full advantage of the role of both genders in health provision;
  3. promoting research on linkages between traditional and western medicine to reduce suspicion and increase collaboration; and
  4. promoting the role of parents in health and sex education particularly HIV/AIDS so that interventions are compatible and acceptable to local communities.
4.2.8 Promoting Cultural Values that support Good

Management of Natural Resources and the Environment Strategic Challenge
There is over exploitation and abuse of natural resources and the environment. Bush fires occur because people are hunting for mice or rabbits. The challenge therefore is to promote values and practices that will protect natural resources and the environment. Strategic Options
The following Strategic Options will help to achieve this: by promoting small family values;

  1. improving sanitary practices by stringent laws, policing and civic education;
  2. preventing the loss of indigenous knowledge of biodiversity;
  3. promoting community participation and gender roles in management of Natural Resources and Environmental Management, and
  4. strengthening activities of city and town council health departments.
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