This world is full of people who wish us Malawians and our country bad. They blame us for everything bad. Each time they want to give us anything, they command us to declare that it is our fault that we are the poorest in the world. And we concoct statistics to prove that indeed we are the poorest peaceful people in the whole world. They force us to admit that we are the third most corrupt in the world. And we admit it. They force us to say we are the hungriest people in the world. And we nod our heads. They say ours are the most stunted children in the world. They say Malawi is a case study in failure. And we agree. Aid flows in but most of it flows back to the aid headquarters. Ask economist Leonce Ndikumana, if you don’t believe us.
However, there are others that care about us. They give aid with no strings attached. Professor Abiti Joyce Befu, MG 66, has directed that today we present and thank engineer Dr Holger Keppel for his love for the people of Chilumba and Malawi.
Since 2012, Engineer Dr Holder Keppel has been in Malawi six times as a senior expert deployed by the Senior Experten Service (SES) of Bonn, Germany to assist with different community development projects.
His placement in Malawi has been to support the adaptation management structures and urban planning. He is the founder of the Malawi Freunde Rottenburg, which currently has 85 members.
The Malawi Freunde Rottenburg, e.V. has been very active in the Chilumba area of Karonga district where it has supported Tawuka Secondary School with school materials, such as computers and microscopes, and the construction of toilets and classrooms. The organisation also gave scholarships to 50 students at the school.
In May 2017, Malawi Freunde Rottenburg, e.V worked with the Mzuzu-based Urban Research Advocacy Centre (Urac) in Malawi to deliver a workshop on climate change adaptation in the Chilumba area. This engagement led to further engagements such as the Solar Energy Project, the Ecosan Toilet Project and the Save Water Project. Approximately 50 000 euros (about K42 million) has been invested in the people of Chilumba. Urac partners the Malawi Freunde on the Ecosan Toilet and Save Water projects. Dr Keppel’s love for Malawi, and Chilumba in particular, has resulted in his writing a book about Malawi, whose title loosely translates as Oh Malawi! Impressions of the Warm Heart of Africa.
Dr Keppel is an engineer with expertise in town and development, civil engineering, waste water management, environmental impact assessment, project management and municipal administration, among others. He received his doctorate degree in engineering from the University of Dortmund in 1980. He also has a degree in town, regional and landscape planning from the University of Stuttgart obtained in 1976. Three years earlier he graduated from the University of Karlsrushe with an intermediate diploma in architectural studies.
Dr Keppel has worked for the LAG Baden-Wurttemburg; the Academy for Spatial Research and Planning; for Nurtigen-Geislingen University for Business and Environmental Studies as a lecturer in town planning; for Rotenburg am Nectar Major District Town from as mayor; manager at the Planning and Surveying office of Rottenburg am Nectar.
Dr Keppel loves Chilumba and the people of Chilumba love him. You should have been there recently when he came to hand over boreholes Malawi Freunde had sunk. There was ululation, dance, music, and singing for a true friend.