Malawi translates SDGs and national development strategy into local languages

Deputy Director in the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Idrissa Mwale, speaking during the opening of the translation exercise.

August 3rd, 2018: Malawi Government on 23rd July embarked on an exercise to translate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the third Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS III) from English into three Malawian local languages: Yao, Chichewa and Tumbuka.

The translation exercise is jointly led by Ministries of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, and Information and Communication Technology, with support from the United Nations and the European Union through the Development Effectiveness and Accountability Programme (DEAP).

Director of Information in the Information Ministry, Gedion Munthali, said translating the SDGs and the country’s national development strategy, the MGDS III, will help efforts to make the two development frameworks easy for local people to understand.

“To us as government, the SDGs and MGDS III are about the people of Malawi. We don’t have to repeat the same mistakes we made during the Millennium Development Goals era when such policy documents were not translated to the level of understanding of an ordinary person in the villages,” said Munthali.

He said the translated SDGs and MGDS III will support Malawi Government efforts to raise awareness and mobilise local people’s actions to achieve sustainable development in the country.

“It is important that people should understand these two development frameworks in the layman’s language because development processes are facilitated by a well-informed citizenry,” said Munthali.

Deputy Director in the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Idrissa Mwale, also said the translation of the global and national development frameworks into Chichewa, Tumbuka and Yao will promote localisation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Malawi.

“We want to ensure that these development strategies reach out to local communities through languages they understand for them to ably help government implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” said Mwale.

Mwale said the MGDS III acts as a national blueprint through which the Malawi Government has domesticated the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, saying effective implementation of the national development strategy will directly impact on achievement of the SDGs.

The first phase of the translation exercise was conducted in Dowa District from 23rd July to 1st August, involving a team of Ministry of Information’s language translation experts drawn from Malawi’s three regions to do the actual translation and technical experts from the Finance Ministry to guide on meanings of various development concepts and terms in the frameworks.

The second phase will involve district consultations and pretesting to enable local communities, where the local languages are most spoken, participate in the process.

Various stakeholders including the Ministries of Health, Education, Gender, Civic Education and Agriculture, as well as the National Planning Commission and the National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) will be consulted in the process.

Director of Information in the Information Ministry, Gedion Munthali, speaking at the opening of the translation exercise in Dowa District.

The translation team members sharing ideas before breaking into groups to handle specific language translations.

One team focused on Chichewa translation in session.

One team focused on Chichewa translation in session.

One team focused on Tumbuka translation in session.

One team focused on Yao translation in session.

 

The translation team in a group photograph.

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