INTERNATIONAL YOUTH DAY 2020
Happy International Youth Day 2020! mHub is celebrating the day by embracing the different work young people are doing in their communities through a digital collage of action pictures submitted by youth. The hub is also sharing a blog collaboration by five members of the ecosystem on the topic: “How to maximize your younger years – Start Now and Get Ahead”
We have five seasoned bloggers sharing on five thematic topics, check out the list below and read what calls to you.
1. Developing Soft Skills by Solomon Mlinda
2. A money making Hobby by Austin Madinga
3. Getting your money habits right by Winnie Adorha Tione
4. Understanding the Digital Landscape by Mc Donald Nyoni
5. Trying New Things by Louisa Msiska
It’s a 5 minute read, ENJOY!
Developing Soft Skills BY SOLOMON MLINDA
When I was a college freshman, our class was given group assignments to develop a presentation on a topic of our choice and present to the class. I suggested to my group that we start our presentation with some newspaper story I had read two years earlier. To my dismay, they agreed, unanimously imposing the role of introducing the presentation on me despite my objection.
On the ‘D-Day’. my group was the first, meaning I was the first to stand in front of the class. I was an active member of class but I had never made a presentation. I still remember the boring gazes that the class gave me, some seemingly trying to draw my attention away from the task at hand.
That day, I could feel my legs quaking inside my pair of trousers as I struggled to keep my composure. I even thought my classmates could notice my shaking as a sign of my timidity and shyness. That, folks, was the effect that just two minutes of introducing a topic to my classmates and my lecturer had on me.
I have gathered some key lessons over the years. Studies show an increased demand for cognitive abilities, systems skills and complex problem-solving skills, it is only important for youth to prepare for the changing work and societal environments that need more than just technical abilities.
It is also important, when challenges are thrust your way, to not shy away from tasks that would help you develop the key soft skills. Your lack of self-concept or self-assertiveness does imply lack of skill or ability.
Usually, you may simply have not come to recognize and unleash your full potential. Opening up for challenges will help you practically develop the soft skills key to functioning productively in different settings.
Whatever your personality, developing soft skills can be aided by developing both a thick skin and suppleness. Your thick skin is for your endurance while your adaptability is for you to fit in. I have seen introverts manifest these qualities as much as extroverts. The ability to develop soft skills lies in all although some need to also develop self-control.
‘What you do, do quickly’ is another key consideration to make. I personally sometimes struggle with situations that need soft skills that I never cared about earlier. You should even throw yourself into experiences that will hone key soft skills as early in your life as is possible. You never know when you might need that seemingly unimportant skill.
Whether it is public speaking, interpersonal communication, writing, leadership, flexibility, teamwork, integrity, or higher-order thinking, make it a point to assertive. Soft skills can actually be acquired or developed – even by you! You can work on it until some think you are just blessed with some talent.
Biography: Solomon M. Mlinda is an introvert who can become really animated when situations demand. He is a life-long student of nature, being and purpose. He currently works with National Youth Council of Malawi as Programme Officer.
Link to website
A money-making hobby BY AUSTIN MADINGA
Hobbies are about things that you enjoy. If you can make a little money out of it, all the better. Most youth will list “interacting on social media” as one of their hobbies. A good number of them perhaps participated in the recent #DataMustFall campaign. As someone whose work has involved either setting up online systems, developing online platforms or creating content, social media is a great platform for some money-making hobbies.
Many small businesses have turned to WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to sell their goods, especially in these Covid-19 times. These small businesses, typically owned by our parents, relatives or friends, usually lack the skills to creatively sell their goods and services online. This is where tech-savvy and creative youth can come in.
The youth can make money by creating communication material for social media platforms using skills picked up from photography, graphic design or writing hobbies. Some of these hobbies come naturally, others need a bit of learning.
Almost all businesses have a product or service they can show with a photo. Most product photography we see needs improvement. But hiring a professional photographer can be quite expensive.Here is where a creative amateur photographer can come in by offering a discounted fee. Do a little touchup using a free mobile app like Snapseed and voila!
Once you have your touched up pictures, you can design some cool adverts. Free apps like Canva can be downloaded onto your phone or used online for free. You can add in a mix of pictures, text and other designs using free templates. You can even make simple animations to enhance your designs. Now, how cool is that?
Social media management:
Once you have your client’s advert, you can offer to manage their social media platforms using platforms like Hoot suite. You can schedule multiple posts for up to 3 social media platforms for free. That means that you can schedule your client's posts on the weekend (if you are busy with school) and your app will do the posting for you at scheduled times within the week. If your client's trust you, you can even respond to comments on their behalf!
If your client sells a specialized service or product, you can develop a Frequently Asked Questions or a “How To” blog using Wordpress.com for free. An added bonus is you get to learn in-depth about the client’s business and also improve your grammar. Your English teacher will be impressed!
Many of these hobbies can be done using a decent smartphone and some airtime (don’t let up on the #DataMustFall campaign folks!). Where this is not possible, ask friends and relatives to lend you a professional camera and laptop. Many people have devices they rarely use lying around in their homes and would willingly lend them to you. If you work on mastering the skills above, there is more money to be made beyond your initial small business clients. Good luck!
Austin is a marketer and designer. He is also an avid explorer and blogs about the awesomeness of Malawi, the African continent and her diverse people on
Getting your Money Habits Right BY WINNIE ADORHA TIONE
Money; like trees, grows from a tiny seed but require financial discipline to bloom (George S. Clason- The Richest man in Babylon). Merriam-Webster defines financial discipline to how well you are able to conform your spending and savings to the plans that you have set to achieve your monetary goals. I have come to realize and learn that, no human being does not want to look like or be in the situation where they are “BROKE”. Money comes and goes, but it takes courage, determination and attitude to be financially disciplined, therefore, here are some of the stated ways on how to get your money habits right and attaining financial discipline:
Avoid peer pressure to spend unnecessary and on unbudgeted expenses:
Every one of us has their own dreams and goals that we aim to achieve, whether you want to spend on purchasing a car or go on a vacation, save up for your education, get a dog, buy a phone, et cetera it all comes down to YOU! Never let someone else’s financial goals pressure you into spending. If you know you are at a level where you cannot purchase that “Brazilian wig or the latest IPhone” it’s okay to have that short hair, or a Techno brand for a phone. Be diligent and comfortable enough to be contented with the money you have at hand and to not subdue to peer pressure in the way you spend. Learn to say NO! to unnecessary and unbudgeted expenses, if you have to.
Be prudent towards your money:
If you are like me, then you will relate with the next statement I am about to make “I love seeing money in my bank account, for no reason”. Be frugal with your money, have a motive behind why you make, save and spend your money. It is important to learn how to budget, reconcile, and most importantly how to track your savings and expenditure. No matter how small a purchase is, be it business or personal related, develop a culture of requesting for a receipt, if you do digital transactions i.e. the purchase of credit, take screenshots. Be vigilant and keen to know where your money goes. It is yours, and yours alone.
Spend within your means:
I can never over emphasize the need to spend within your means. It is important to register that we are all not on the same level when it comes to money making, the same goes to our savings and expenditure. Never ever get into debt for the sake to accustom to a certain level of living standards.
Lastly; money is power, but a fat wallet quickly empties, if there are no golden financial discipline rules.
Winnie Adorha Tione is a young female Malawian entrepreneur. She's the founder and chief executive officer of a successful events planning company called W.A.T Events, a Marketer and an upcoming author.
Understanding the Digital Landscape BY MC DONALD NYONI
It is alarming that access and reach of digital media in Malawi is low relative to other media channels such as radio. As with other developing African countries, digital behaviour revolves around mobile technology. Access to the internet is largely through mobile phones and data credit, rather than desktop/laptop computers and Wifi. Access to mobile tech and data can be split between those in urban areas (with access) and those in rural areas (without access). Though, in both cases, mobile phones and data remain a luxury item .
As of January 2019 it is evident that Internet penetration in Malawi was at 15%, and notable social media platforms monthly usage is reflected as follows: Facebook (530, 000, where 30% are female and 70% male), Twitter (18, 000, where 22% are female and 78% are male), Instagram (55, 000, where 38% were female and 62% male).
The pre-requisite data presents of how challenging the Malawian economy is to leverage digital in exploring opportunities therein. It is, however, clear that the youth are expected to step up and seize opportunities in the digital economy as its significance cannot be over emphasized due to Covid-19 restrictions. There is a lot that the youth can do to take advantage of the evolution of digital. Since schools have been closed, it is interesting to invest on learning new soft skills that are marketable in the digital marketplace, and relevant in this century. Some of the notable skills include: Graphic Designing, Data Analysis using Microsoft Excel and other tools, Website development, Social Media management, Digital Data Analytics and Online Trading. This is just a drop in a big ocean of skills that can be learned in we are to adapt to the digital age.
Adapting to the digital age is a Skills conversation. Interest to explore digital does not on its own create opportunities, but learning and action does. Since digital is an ever-changing space, it is expected of the youth to always be in top of their space through constant learning of new skills and techniques. In Malawi digital literacy is a major concern for many of the youth, and it becomes a challenge to compete for opportunities at a global level. The problem of job’s scarcity in part is due to how digital skills have not be promoted, or mastered by the youth.
Biography: Mc Donald Nyoni has more than eight plus years of designing, providing hosting services and supporting web platforms of top brands; Developing comprehensive digital communication strategies for political and Youth brands.
Trying New Things BY LOUISA MSISKA
Trying new things is not at all easy, because most often, we fear failure. We get comfortable in the status quo and our minds become rigid to the thought of change. But as a young person, this is the perfect time to try new things, when you still have time to make things better. You never want to be in your 70s thinking about the things you should have experienced in your 20s. Life is about experimenting and experiencing, so that when you are old and wrinkled, with no energy to spare, you will feel fulfilled with the journey you’ve lived.
Discover your passion:
This is something I find crucial. Finding your passion helps determine your destiny. Fun fact, a lot of old people you know are stuck in jobs that bore them to death. One of the reasons is because they never followed through with what they are really passionate about. So, find time to yourself and discover who you are and what you feel most passionate about. Once you find it, build that passion whole heartedly.
Stand for what you believe in:
In this day and age, there are many issues that arise every day. We experience many injustices and inequalities in our societies, that sometimes, lack the right people to help fight for them. Take a stand in what you believe in without being unapologetic about it. You do not want to be on your death bed regretting not being part of the fight for an injustice that was right close to your eyes.
Teach and learn:
Hoarding is a problem that has moved from generation to generation. We hoard information to ourselves because we want the next person to do their own digging and not succeed from our sweat. Be different; be open to teach those close to you. Share with them the knowledge you have acquired. There is nothing as satisfying as seeing someone improve based on what you taught them. At the same time, be open enough to learn from those older and younger than you. Never feel like you have known it all, this world is filled with information and knowledge, and you can never acquire it all.
Biography: She is a poet, activist and blogger. She has been a blogger for 2 years and enjoys sharing about art, life and love. She recently released a poetry collection title Bare Soul that can be purchased on her blog.