Knight International Journalism Fellowships

Malawi: Shedding Light on Development in One of Africa’s Poorest Countries

Edem Djokotoe led a team of 10 reporters and editors at Malawi’s leading independent newspaper, The Nation, in producing investigative reports that shed light on development issues such as farming, fisheries and fuel shortages. For the first time, a Malawi newspaper offers readers in-depth stories on key topics such as the near-extinction of fish species vital to the Malawi economy, grain-storage problems that threatened food security, threats to the environment from overuse of charcoal, and efforts to produce ethanol from an indigenous plant.

Under Djokotoe’s guidance, reporters and editors produced more than three dozen in-depth and investigative stories for the English-language Nation and its vernacular sister publication, FUKO. A story on the hardships of rural pregnant women trying in vain to reach clinics to give birth prompted the country’s president to lift a ban on midwives.

Journalists in Malawi receive little or no training, and news organizations suffer from scarce resources. Through workshops and mentoring, Djokotoe worked with more than 100 journalists and journalism students across the country to raise skills and introduce a higher standard of reporting.

Our Stories


  • Oct 232010

    The Future of Fishing in Malawi

    Editors Note: Knight Fellow Edem Djokotoe investigates the fishing industry in Malawi

    The future of Malawi’s agriculture could lie in the hands of people like Heinrich Sitima, a 14-year-old school boy I met during a farm visit in Chiradzulu, a rural district some 30 minutes’ drive from Blantyre. He lives with his parents on Wambeu Farm, a 10-hectare sprawl with pigs, goats, cows, fish, bananas, cabbages, tomatoes, onions and a animal feed enterprise.
       Heinrich Sitima at Wambeu Farm in Chiradzulu Heinrich wants to be a farmer when he grows up.

  • Sep 232010

    A Dirty Word Called 'Development'

    Chapananga is a remote chiefdom on Malawi’s southern border with Mozambique. It is four and a half hours of meandering mountainous road and hard driving from Blantyre, the commercial capital of the country, where Nation Publications Limited, my host organization, is headquartered.

    In a month and a half’s time when the rains start, the area will be inaccessible by road transport, including their sturdiest and most reliable of 4x4’s.

  • Jun 152010

    Journey of a Thousand Miles

    Editors Note: The blog sums up what I will be expected to do in Malawi as outlined at the week-long orientation session at the ICFJ in Washington DC

    My journey to an Africa Development Journalism Fellowship in Malawi started with a significant first step in Washington.


  • Knight Fellow Edem Djokotoe working with two editors at The Nation.