Edition of The Big Issue to launch in Malawi

A new edition of the The Big Issue is to be launched in one of the world’s poorest countries – Malawi.

The project is being backed by the Glasgow-based International Network of Street Papers.

The Big Issue Malawi is to be sold in Malawi’s capital, Blantyre, by homeless people and slum dwellers.

According to INSP, the new project will provide training and employment opportunities for over 750 disadvantaged people over three years.

Through its pages, the new title will also seek to educate readers on social issues and ‘provide a voice to the many Malawians living on the margins of society”, INSP said.

The monthly publication is proposing to launch on December 10 and is currently recruiting a local editor and staff journalist. The title will also make use of content from street papers around then world via a news service run by INSP.

INSP is a charity which supports street paper development all over the world. The Malawi edition of the Big Issue is being backed by a three-year-grant of £93,000 from the Scottish government.

It also has backing from UK-based philanthropist Philippe Sibaud and from Malawian charities.

INSP has previously helped to set up street papers in Kenya, Zambia and Nigeria, and is also currently working with projects in Burundi and Zimbabwe.

The Cultural Awakening Society in Malawi will run the new Big Issue project on the ground.

Its founder Dr John Chikago said: ‘The economic grant from the Scottish Government towards the start-up costs for the launch of Big Issue Malawi for three years is great news to the jobless, marginalised and homeless people in Malawi. It gives them hope for a better tomorrow.

‘Truthfully, it is the manifestation of the trust and confidence the Scottish Government has in the INSP and its international partners. As the founder of the Culture Awakening Society, I am grateful for this consideration and support.”

More than half of Malawi’s population live below the poverty line and it has a per capita GDP of $800.

In July, The Big Issue magazine announced plans to launch a new edition in India – recruiting 10 journalists for a December launch.

The Big Issue started in London in September 1991, founded by John Bird, and was intended to provide income for its homeless vendors and an alternative to begging. It was inspired by the New York-based Street News.

It has regional editions in Scotland, Wales, the north England and the South West and is also published in Australia, Japan, South Africa, Namibia (front page pictured above) and Kenya.

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