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Workaholic Veep Chilima Launches MUST Endowment Fund

By Chimwemwe Njoloma

Chilima takes a short during the game

Lilongwe, Mana: Vice President Dr. Saulos Chilima has commended public and private sectors promoting higher education in the country by addressing challenges needy students face in different institutions.

He made the remarks on Saturday at Lilongwe Golf Club where he presided over the launch of the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) Endowment Fund for student scholarships whose motto is ‘Create True Legacy’.

Chilima said it was important to commend MUST and other institutions looking at long term initiatives to bail out needy students.

“I am aware that MUST have plans to grow this fund to a very big number. Currently they are sitting at K 1.5 billion and they are trying to raise a billion through a number of initiatives including this tournament.

“This being an investment that looks at future generations is a good one and like I said that it’s commendable and we must encourage the private sector, individuals, international organizations to partner with the university,” the Vice President said.

He said beyond MUST, other universities need to borrow a leaf and if they are already moving on with their own endowment funds, then obviously they should step up the game so that the minimum Endowment fund for universities’ should be K 5 billion.

Chilima added that beyond what government was doing with the loans board, such initiatives were welcome and over and above scholarships that are given by some private sector organizations like National Bank of Malawi (NBM), First Discount House (FDH), NICO and Old Mutual must be commended too.  

He called upon all institutions to be accountable to the partners that are supporting the initiative.

“We have to be very transparent and accountable. Money that comes in as donations is somebody else’s sweat and therefore the best way of saying thank you is to look after the resources and put them to good use,” Chilima said.

Minister of Education, Agnes Nyalonje said there are just many students who need support and the Loans Board cannot reach out to all due to budgetary constraints and limitations in scope as such initiatives that contribute towards access to higher education are encouraged.

“I would like to thank the MUST Council and the university’s management for this innovative, progressive and transformational approach to doing things,” she said.

Vice Chancellor of MUST, Prof. Address Malata shared a story of an orphan from Mzuzu who went to MUST with a pair of slippers, no fees and no money to buy food.

She said listening to the story of that student; he had lost both parents when he was in form one and a relative who had stepped in to help him also passed on when he was in from three rendering him destitute.

“The boy worked during off hours to pay for his school fees in form four. He passed with eight points and was selected to MUST. He came empty handed and he did not get a loan from the Loans Board. He was desperate and that is why we are here this afternoon for students like him.

“Our belief is that no student should drop out of university because he cannot afford to pay school fees as this is a loss of human resource for the national agendas,” Malata said.

She thanked the Vice President for supporting the initiative through his presence and taking part in the golf tournament.

At the end, MUST team emerged winners of the tournament and each member in the team walked away with a mug and a K 50,000 Game Stores shopping voucher.

MUST aims that at some point it shall be weaned from the dependency on government subventions just as what public universities in the USA achieved through similar approach.

The tournament, with a 4-ball-better-ball format at Malawi’s only 18-hole golf course attracted major executive golfers from the corporate world which MUST saw potential to support the novel academic endowment fund.

Among others, teams from NICO, the Malawi Defence Force (MDF), MUST and individuals took part in the tournament.

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