By Duncan Mlanjira
NICO Group has applauded the Malawi media for its role it plays in highlighting its innovative financial services for the public and that’s why it offers a scholarship to one journalist to attend a training course in South Africa in investigative business reporting.
Speaking on Wednesday at their head office at Chibisa House in Blantyre, NICO Group’s Head of Marketing & Communication, Lorraine Phiri said they have been awarding this scholarship in conjunction with their South African business partner, Sanlam since 2014.
“As our strategic partners, we feel obliged to recognise the role the media plays because, while we might be providing innovative services, we cannot on our own reach out to as many people as possible in the way you do.
“You play that part so well and we appreciate that the public is well informed with what we and the others in the corporate world have on offer for them,” she said.
Sanlam has been offering this financial investigative course for South Africans and later spread it to other African countries with whom they have business partnership.
Sanlam pays for the course’s tuition and accommodation while NICO Group funds the successful candidate’s air ticket and their pocket allowance.
This year’s Malawian representative is Lilongwe-based John Paul Kayuni from Zodiak Broadcasting Station, who was over the moon as he only learnt of his fortune right at the function.
“When I was invited to come and attend this function, I reminded NICO that am based in Lilongwe but they insisted on my presence, saying this was a get together party with journalists.
“It is quite a pleasant surprise that I was chosen out of the many excellent business journalist that Malawi have.
“It feels good to be recognized this way and I promise to represent well NICO and Malawi in particular whilst in South Africa.
“This will really empower my business reporting capacity to great heights which will in turn assist others to emulate from,” Kayuni said.
The criteria used to select a candidate is set by Sanlam while NICO sends the guideline to all media houses to nominate a candidate that fits.
NICO then sends the nominees to Sanlam whose selection committee scrutinizes the candidates and make their choice.
“We would have wished if we could send as many journalists as possible but we can only afford to send one at a time,” said NICO’s media liaison officer Mbumba Mlia.
“We appreciate that ever since we started sending the business journalists to this summer school they have come back well equipped and they report better not just for NICO but for the rest of the corporate world that we all ply in.
“The committee that selected Mr. Kayuni observed that he is a versatile reporter with a passion to serve the public in the best interest as possible and we congratulate him for being recognised by the committee that consists of experienced professionals,” she said.
2014 had two candidates — Lorraine Lusinje then working for the Times Group but now with FDH Bank and Innocent Helena of the Nations Publications.
Chimwemwe Mangazi, then working for Capital FM, represented Malawi in 2015 followed by Aston Gondwe of MBC in 2016, George Lumwila in 2017 while Times Group’s William Kumwembe went for last year’s course.