Our PR Officer Kane Callaghan will be in conversation with one of our staff members each month. This month Kane had a chat with the Asst. Project Coordinator of Empower Malawi, Bright Msuku.
Kane: Give us a brief introduction to you as a person – when you started with Empower and what your role is
Bright : My name is Bright Msuku, and I’m from the northern region of Malawi. I am married and currently take care of my wife and other related brothers and sisters. On a regular basis I have to speak English, Chichewa and Tumbuka. I enjoy making friends with people who have a passion to help those in need, especially those needing support in poorer rural communities. I welcome a challenge, whether it be with a team or having to work independently. When I manage to get some time to relax, I like listening to music and watching soccer.
I joined Empower Malawi back in January 2013. I am currently working as a Project Officer, and my role is to help out with the logistics of projects, and to lend a hand translating when we have people of foreign languages. As well as this, I write our monthly project reports, and am responsible for the training of communities in various project components. Whenever I visit Kapita in Mzimba I will often produce project budgets and other assigned duties from the director/project manager.
Kane: What motivates you to make a change in the short term and also in the long term?
Bright: Unfortunately, many rural communities in Malawi lack the capacity to lead a sustainable life. As a Malawian myself, I strive and am keen to work with these rural communities to help diversify and help change their lives. One of my major motivations is helping to support the establishment of self-reliant communities, as many need assistance here in Malawi. There is sadly a mindset some people hold, where they have a tendency to rely on handouts from charity, making them forget what they are supposed to do in give. This is a major motivation for me to help Empower as I agree with their approach.
Kane: Tell me about someone/something that has influenced your decision to work with Empower
Bright: Back in 2011-2012 I worked with Ben Cole, as he was doing research into local sanitation. Working with UNICEF and being from Australia, Ben knew about Empower’s projects here in Malawi and he was the first to connect me to the Empower Malawi team. After a successful research project, Ben’s trust in my capability to work with Empower projects grew and he then spoke to Shanil Samarakoon about the possibility of me joining. After a six-month internship basis with the Empower team, I was then welcomed on board the team full time. My journey to Empower started after I had similar aspirations to help work with developmental projects in which sustainability would be the main focus.
As well as this, since my childhood I have aspired to work with rural communities, and meeting Ben was a great opportunity to get involved. With my background being in Information and Communication Technology, the sustainable technology aspect of Empower’s approach had me very excited!
Kane: What would you tell someone who is thinking donating/volunteering?
Bright: If I could say a few words to somebody thinking of donating or volunteering, I would say to them that helping someone in need is not measured on how big or small or donation, or how frequent, but about the passion in which this person has towards that particular individual or community.
Kane: Share one of your favourite quotes with us!
Bright: We know what we are, but know not what we may be. (William Shakespeare)