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Plan International Malawi (PIM)

By Sylvester Kumwenda

Dowa, Mana: Plan International Malawi (PIM) has launched a K6 million sports tournament in Dowa aimed at promoting coexistence between refugees and the host community and to raise awareness on various human rights.

The launch of the knockout tournament dubbed Plan International Malawi Sports Tournament, took place Friday at Dzaleka football ground in Dowa.

Speaking during the launch, guest of honour who is chairperson for Dowa District Council Richard Kassanje said, the launch speaks directly to the vision of the council of creating a harmony amongst its citizens asylum seekers.

“We are all the image of God no matter where we are coming from. Malawi too has different tribes with different backgrounds but we live peacefully as one.

“We should also accord the love and respect to our brothers and sisters inside the camp. But, for our friends inside the camp, you should also create the same atmosphere for the host community,” he said.

Kassanje (2nd L) with officials and players during the launch (Photo by Sylvester Kumwenda)

Kassanje however warned camp residents against what he said continued reports of violent acts inside the camp, theft, immoral activities and substance abuse. He urged all to make use of various organizations offering services inside the camp for informed life decisions.

But he also commended PIM for incorporating a component of human rights awareness in the football tournament which is open to teams both inside and outside the camp.

“A special aspect should also go to raising awareness on the rights of children. Whether inside or outside this camp, children must be protected against all forms of gender based violence and abuse,” said Kassanje.

Project officer for PIM Aaron Tawakali in his remarks said as the organization looks after the welfare of the camps residents, it is also important to promote relationships with the host community.

“As PIM, we have huge responsibilities towards refugees, but another crucial aspect is ensuring peaceful coexistence between refugees and the host community. One thing we can achieve this is through sports because sports bring people together.

“So we thought of organizing this 3 week football tournament so that as people come together, they can be able to create good relationships and hence promote peaceful coexistence,” he said.

Apart form this, he said the tournament also aims at raising awareness on sexual and reproductive health rights, gender based violence, child protection and related human rights issues.

Chairperson for Dowa District Football Association Solomon Chirwa said they were proud in taking part in the tournament, and said as an association; they do not segregate anyone in their activities.

During the launch, in women’s football, Dzaleka based Heroes Academy beat Nsakambewa 3 – 2 in a penalty shootout. Young Talent defeated Heroes Acadamey 2 – 1 in men’s football. Participating teams all went away with K40000 each.

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