Umunthu FM is a regional radio licensed by Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority MACRA in 2020 but started transmission in 2021. The Station is also registered by the government of Malawi through the Registrar of Companies as a limited company by guarantee as such it also operates as a civil society organization. The station is also a member of reputable media bodies such as the Media Institution of Southern Africa (MISA), Media Council of Malawi (MCM), Farm Radio International, and Share-Net International. The station is currently implementing several projects and one such project is mental health matters under the Catalyst fund funded by the Shift the Power program which is currently been implemented by the Tilitonse Foundation, Comic Relief, and UK Aid. The project aims to strengthen Umunthu FM’s capacity gaps and strengthen proposal development for the Civic Society Strengthening grant, which the Tilitonse Foundation is expecting to release in due course.
During the first quarter of the implementation of the mental health matters project, Umunthu FM conducted activities the following activities:
- The community Engagement session was held on July 14 at Lozi Teachers Development Center (TDC), with 20 participants from different designations such as teachers, chiefs, church leaders, and youth club members.
- Policy and Guideline Review and development and under this activity an experienced local consultant was hired who facilitated the development of fundamental organizational policy documents. Through this activity, ten different policies were developed and these policies are Financial Management Policy, Procurement Policy, Sexual Exploitation Policy, Conflict of Interest Policy, Gender Policy, Safeguarding Policy, Staff Handbook, Whistle-blower Policy, and Risk Management Policy.
- In September 2023 Umunthu FM also successfully conducted a Stakeholders meeting at Kariba Lake Resort the Meeting was attended by 22 people from various groups, including civil society, the district health office, the youth network, disability forum, traditional leaders, the education officer, the district youth office, district social welfare office, and media. The meeting aimed to assess the status of mental health in the district and gather ideas from stakeholders.
- In the second quarter of the project from October to December 2023, Umunthu FM has so far made tangible progress in the development of a three-year Strategic Plan (2024 to 2027) and the development of a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) framework for the institution.
Key project achievements so far
- Managed to secure new funding projects because of the development and availability of important policies and strengthened organization structure and systems.
- Managed to recruit qualified personnel in some management positions
- Development of the three-year organizational strategic plan ( 2024-2026)
- Development of monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) framework for the institution
Umunthu FM started implementing the catalyst fund project entitled Mental Health Matters in July 2023 and is expected to phase out by the end of December 2023