Gerald Chima (left) and Dr. Arox Kamng’ona with the three beneficiaries
* The CoVID -19 pandemic has changed the format of learning in the country as classes are mostly done online
* The donation further emphasizes NICO’s commitment to serving in the education sector
By Duncan Mlanjira
NICO Group has donated laptops to female students at Kamuzu University of Health Sciences (KUHeS), formerly known as College of Medicine, in a bid to assist the needy students with their online lessons.
Due to the CoVID-19 pandemic, the format of learning in most academic institutions in the country has changed as classes are mostly done online to avoid physical contact as a prevention measure.
However, the biggest challenge for most higher learning institutions is that most students cannot afford to have the right gadgets to fulfill their studies online.
Thus most students are required to take turns to use the few computer resources provided by the college at their Resource Centre, which affects their studies and are at a disadvantage from others who have access to personal gadgets and can do their studies anytime.
Realizing this, NICO has been making such donations to other higher learning institutions that include Malawi University of Science and Technologies (MUST) and Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences, formerly known as the Polytechnic, that was made earlier this year.
At the presentation ceremony, NICO Pensions General Manager, Gerald Chima, said the group understands the challenge that CoVID-19 has had on the education sector and is doing its part by assisting these students.
“We are determined to always do our part when it comes to education,” he said. “With an educated nation, we can enjoy the fruits of this beautiful nation as we will have more educated leaders to put right policies in place.”
He further encouraged the beneficiaries of the initiative to remain determined in pursuing their education, saying: “Your education will always be yours. No one can take that from you, but you need to take it seriously and put more effort in your studies as well.”
Speaking on behalf the student beneficiaries and the college, KUHeS Associate Professor of Molecular Biology, Doctor Arox Kamng’ona, expressed gratitude towards NICO.
“This gesture is appreciated as it will go a long way in helping our underprivileged students. Due to the pandemic, we had to introduce online classes and some students were struggling as they do not have gadgets to enable them to attend the virtual lessons.
“With assistance from NICO, more students have been able to have their own gadgets and attend classes with their classmates,” Kamng’ona said.
This second donation to KUHeS came about through one of the youngest female physician, Dr. Tamara Phiri — who was featured as an inspirational speaker in NICO’s Month of Women campaign in March.
She was given an opportunity to identify a cause she feels passionate about that NICO can assist her to reach out to and she identified this education gap, which also falls in NICO’s corporate social responsibility.
The donation further emphasizes NICO’s commitment to serving in the education sector and todate the Group, that celebrates its 50th anniversary, has sponsored K14 million towards this cause.
As a leading financial services corporate citizen, NICO Group maintains that it remains committed to ensuring it gives back to the community it operates in by supporting initiatives that uplift Malawians in the areas of education, health and environmental conservation.
In April, through NICO Life and Nico Pensions, the Group donating K6 million the same to purchase laptops for its 30 needy undergraduate students.
Malawi University of Science and Technologies benefitted in March, through a K3 million donation as a response to the institution’s ‘A gadget for a needy student’ initiative.
Last year, the company responded to a call for help from University of Malawi (UNIMA) by donating personal protective equipment (PPEs) as they were preparing for resumption of physical academic classes and in October, it donated K4.83 million to Hope for the Blind towards paying tuition fees for vision-challenged students studying at Chancellor College in Zomba.
Since 2014, NICO Asset Managers has been supporting some vision-impaired students through Hope for the Blind while in February last year, NICO Life and NBS Bank sponsored the official launch of the Student Society of Banking and Finance at the Polytechnic in Blantyre as a gesture of solidarity to foster a lasting partnership towards Banking and Finance degree programme.