Miss Malawi organisers want more partners in their initiative which aims at raising a voice against population growth in the country.
Teresa Ndanga—spokesperson for this year’s Miss Malawi project organised by Nation Publications Limited (NPL) and Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS)—says population growth is getting out of hand in the country.
“Sexually active youths are contributing to this worrying trend.
“Therefore, as NPL and ZBS, we feel managing population is not only the responsibility of government, but all of us,” she said.
Ndanga said, as top media houses, NPL and ZBS are committed to addressing issues that affect ordinary people in the country, including managing population by re-introducing Miss Malawi beauty pageantry.
According to the country’s population data sheet compiled by Population Reference Bureau (PRB), in just over 40 years, Malawi’s population has increased from four million people in 1966 to 13.1 million in 2008 and to about 16 million today.
PRB further says the country’s population will continue to increase steadily given the high fertility rate of 4.5.
This means even if the fertility rate declines from the 2010 level of 5.7 to 4.6 by 2017, the population will still grow to 26 million in 2030.
Ndanga, therefore, says managing the country’s population needs innovation that is why Malawi needs to engage young people [beauty queens] to champion health issues that affect their reproductive health rights.
“We are envisioning a Miss Malawi who will not only inspire young people [girls in particular], but also initiate campaigns that will sway sexually active young people into safe sexual behaviours,” she said.
Meanwhile, regional finals for the Southern Region edition of Miss Malawi is set for January 28 at Victoria Gardens in Blantyre.
Thirteen contestants are expected to battle it out.
Ndanga described the other regional finals in Central and Northern as a success.
“This is from two fronts: that’s of the contestants performance and the support we received from the audience.
“The contestants demonstrated great preparedness in their catwalk and how much they mastered the issues around the topic which is fighting overpopulation.
“We will continue working with those that have made it through to the national finals in public speaking and articulation of population issues,” she said.
The national finals, slated for April 29 in Lilongwe, will have a total of 15 contestants.
Three contestants made it from the North and five from the Central Region. n