Educationist Benedicto Kondowe has commended President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera for introducing the Annual Presidential Charity Golf Tournament, saying this will go a long way in addressing challenges underprivileged students are facing to access tertiary education.
Chakwera this morning unveiled the tournament at a brief function that took place at the Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe.
Among others, the charity tourney aims at raising financial resources, which will go towards payment of tuition fees for underprivileged students and supporting the poor.
Reacting to the development, Kondowe, who is also the Executive Director of Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC), described the intended support towards the poor and underprivileged students as timely and a need that has always been inadequate.
He said the support will enable the underprivileged students to access education, remain in school and complete their education.
“The gap in support has been growing each year thereby exposing such children to more risks, i.e. street children, alcohol and substance abuse, early marriages and other social behaviours. So, the support would potentially improve their livelihood and future prospects or opportunities,” he said.
Kondowe appealed to Malawians to support the initiative, stressing that education has the potential to take underprivileged students out of poverty and make them self-reliant and responsible citizens.
He stated that the focus on poor and underprivileged students will transform golf, which is traditionally elitist to reconnect with those who are needy.
“In this sense, golf could boost its ability to use the sport as a tool to reach out to the under-privileged. My view is that all capable Malawians should support the initiative by making in kind donations beyond the sport itself.
“The initiative needs to develop a sustainability plan so that it does not die out after the tenure of the current President. Golf as a sport should embrace it as a window for reaching out to the underprivileged and this has to continue even if leadership at the State House changes,” said Kondowe.
On the other hand, sports commentator George Chiusiwa said the initiative President Chakwera has undertaken will contribute to the elevation of the welfare of poor and underprivileged segments of the Malawi population.
Chiusiwa added that in itself, the Annual Presidential Charity Golf Tournament is a noble cause as it aims at promoting equal education access in championing an inclusive education system in the country.
“For a long time, inclusive education is only a rhetorical song as this education approach has not received adequate policy support.
“Particularly important about the presidential initiative is the fact that golf as a sport is patronised by a certain class of people that is well off economically and it is also adequately supported by the corporate sector,” he said.
Added Chiusiwa: “Essentially this means a meaningful corporate social responsibility towards uplifting the welfare of poor people. In turn, the golf sport stands to gain prominence and popularity even among the ordinary Malawians and in a way attracting more patrons and players. Additionally, the presidential call has the potential to lure more corporate players into the sport through sponsorship.”
Chiusiwa recommended that there must be a proper government policy direction on how such sectors as sports can help alleviate the plight of the poor.
He said initiatives as the one hatched by the President ought to be part of the national sports development policy agenda.
“It is high time the country realised the interlinked benefits of various aspects of socio-economic development using progressive policy tools,” he recommended.