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Full Transcript of Gertrude Mutharika’s Speech at the Launch of Beautify Malawi

Gertrude Mutharika
STATEMENT BY HER EXCELLENCY MADAME GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA FIRST LADY OF THE REPUBLIC OF MALAWI
PATRON AND CHAIRPERSON OF THE GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA BEAUTIFY MALAWI TRUST DURING THE LAUNCH OF
THE GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA BEAUTIFY MALAWI TRUST
ON 13TH SEPTEMBER 2014 AT KAMUZU PALACE GRAND MARQUEE LILONGWE, MALAWI

Working together for a cleaner and healthier Malawi
• Your Excellency the State President of the Republic of Malawi, Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika

• Right Honourable Mr. Saulos Chilima, Vice President of the Republic of Malawi, and Mrs. Mary Chilima

• Honorouble Ministers and Deputy Ministers here present

• Dr. Collins Magalasi, Deputy Chairperson of the Gertrude Mutharika Beautify Malawi Trust, and the Chief Economic Advisor to the President.

• Board members of Trust

• The Mayor of Lilongwe City Council

• The Chief Executive Officer of the Lilongwe City Council

• The District Commissioner for Lilongwe District Council

• The Chairperson of the Launch Organising Committee, Mr. Chimango Chirwa, and your Committee.

• Member of the Diplomatic Call

• The Directors of Ceremonies, Dr. Benson Tembo and Mr. Mayamiko Mwinjilo

• Members of the Media

• Invited guests, Ladies and Gentlemen

I am greatly delighted and honoured to see you all at this auspicious occasion of launching the Gertrude Mutharika Beautify Malawi Trust.

Your Excellency, please allow me to start my statement by thanking all the delegates for coming to this event, and for the financial and material contributions they have made so far.

The Gertrude Mutharika Beautify Malawi Trust is a Not-For-Profit Trust with a vision of a cleaner and healthier Malawi. Our mission is to secure policies and practices that will improve health and quality of life of all Malawians through increased access to responsible, participatory and improved management of waste and sanitation facilities in Malawi.

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I am sure – because I can see it in you your face – that many of you are sickened with what you saw in the documentary a few minutes ago. You wish it were a dream. Unfortunately, the pictures are real.

In fact, for those that joined us this morning when we went to sweep and clean at the market place in Phwetekere in Area 36, I guess you were not surprised. Even more, those that were with us at Ntaya – the Lilongwe Dumpsite – which is located off-Blantyre road, will tell you that the documentary left out serious unspeakables that we saw this morning.

I still have memories of those young boys and girls, eating leftovers scavenged from that waste. I remember the smell and the flies that welcomed us. I cannot get out of my mind the cry of the families that live around Ntaya. They are also human beings. They are Malawians. Please, let us act now, stop and reverse this sad development. Our health is not only a byproduct of how we live, it’s also about where we live.

Your Excellency, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I get emotional when I remember situations that have unnecessarily cost innocent lives. Just today we saw families that lost their children to malaria and other preventable diseases, simply because their community lacked proper sanitation and waste management. Malaria is largely associated with poor sanitation. Therefore, before I proceed with my speech, allow me to ask everybody here to stand up for 1 minute in respect of children and others that died from such preventable diseases.
(1 minute silence, with people standing)
Thank you. We may get seated.

Mr. Director of Ceremonies, we have confirmed that there is serious and widespread illegal open dumping, due to low waste collection, and this result in backyard incineration in our communities. Filth is living among our people, yes, the citizens of Malawi. The filter from the dumpsite continues to pollute underground water, which is an important alternative source of water for many residents. Loose papers and plastics are everywhere, men are still urinating in the open, creating negative environmental impacts and increased health risk of the residents. Thank God women do not partake of this evil habit.

Your Excellency, open waste-dumps are primary breeding sites for
mosquitoes, houseflies, rodents and other vectors of communicable diseases such as fever, diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, and malaria. Fumes from burning waste causes respiratory infections and make our environment uninhabitable. Sadly, those that are most affected are innocent children, youths and women.

The Ministry of Health spends 37% of its budget on diseases that could otherwise be avoided if only we were all committed to practicing hygiene and properly dispose-off our waste. Together, we can change our country, together we can make Malawi cleaner and healthier. Together we can change the face of our nation.
Your Excellencies, I am greatly concerned with the sorry state of sanitation in most of our local communities, both rural and urban. Poor hygiene practices, wanton littering, hazardous waste disposal and lack of regulated recycling of waste leave our communities dirty and exposed to preventable health hazards. The documentary we watched here is evidence of this sad reality.

Distinguished guests, I look forward to the day we will turn Malawi’s waste into something beneficial. Do you know that this country can produce over 25 million litres of CBG gas per annum from this waste? Do you know we can reduce the health budget by over 30%? Do you know that over half-a-million people can have jobs from proper waste management? Do you know this country can produce more than 40 megawatts of electricity from waste? Instead we have waste which is a burden.

Your Excellency, Sir, I decided to form The Gertrude Mutharika Beautify Malawi Trust to join hands with others to mobilise communities towards good hygiene practices and sustainable waste management. It is the Trust’s wish to contribute towards accelerated adoption of global best practices in Malawi.

The Beautify Malawi Trust will work with the Government through local assemblies and other like-minded institutions in projects that will promote a cleaner and healthier Malawi, while generating economic value from waste.

Specifically, the Trust will be implementing a number of projects. Among them, we will have projects on Clean Streets; Clean Villages; Clean Schools; Clean Hospitals; Women Enterprise and Empowerment; Collection and Disposal of Waste. We will also engage the reclaiming of dumping sites; Recycling of Waste; Alternative Energy generation; Hygiene and Sanitation education; Partnerships for Effective Waste Management; Lobby and Advocacy. At the back on our work is the important message that I would like to remind everyone: “Cleanliness Is Next to Godliness.”
Your Excellency, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, let me acknowledge and thank His Excellency the State President Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika for his guidance and support. He encourages me to pursue my dreams of a cleaner and healthier Malawi. I also have to mention people that have contributed remarkably to the shaping and developing of the Trust, as follows: Dr. Collins Magalasi my Deputy Chairperson in the Trust, Mr. Mavuto Bamusi, and Mrs. Angela Nazombe. Let me thank the Board of Trustees for their policy guidance to the Trust; and all people and companies that have contributed in cash and kind to the establishment and operational of the BEAM Trust. Lastly but not least, I am grateful to the Organizing Committee of this Launch, chaired by Mr. Chimango Chirwa, who even undertook to organize the fundraising for the Trust. Thank you so much.
BEAM will strive for perfection
BEAM will take the best that exists and make it better, when it does not exist, BEAM will design it.

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, it is now time for my honour and privilege to officially launch the Gertrude Mutharika Beautify Malawi Trust:
(Her Excellency switches on the launch lights)
I hereby declare The Gertrude Mutharika Beautify Malawi Trust officially launched.
Thank very much for your attention.

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