In the wake of increasing cases of COVID-19, iHubOnline will, starting from next week, conduct virtual town hall meetings to discuss issues surrounding the pandemic.
Malawian music maestro Skeffa Chimoto will headline the virtual launch slatted for Friday 5th February with a live performance.
Said iHubOnline Managing Editor Mallick Mnela:
“Starting next week Friday at 7 PM and every other Friday until the end of April; we will bring different experts and entertainers to discuss issues surrounding COVID-19 in the safety of their homes during these days of isolation.”
Mnela said the online platform will primarily target the country’s majority youths with access to the internet.
Ironically, statistics on current prevalence of the COVID-19 suggest that cases are higher among this demographic segment.
“Physical distancing has affected the way authorities engage the masses. For the most part, communication has become top-down. We want to create a two-way linkage between duty bearers and experts without endangering lives or extending the spread of the disease,” he added.
iHubOnline will implement the three months € 10, 000 project with support from the European Union (EU) through the International Media Support (IMS) under the COVID-19 Media Recovery Program.
The project is aimed at encouraging frequent and safer communications with the broader community, and to regularly update stakeholders on emerging issues on the fight against COVID-19.
According to Mnela, the Virtual Town Hall sessions will, most importantly, provide an opportunity to those with internet access to safely interact with experts in various fields involved in fighting the pandemic.
“The Malawian digital space is dominated by non-journalist influencers who often operate without a sense of ethics. In such an environment, it becomes a major issue to access credible, moderated and verified information. We are stepping in to give a small contribution towards the fight against fake news, debunk myths surrounding COVID-19 and provide a direct real-time access to duty bearers.”
The virtual live events will tackle diverse issues ranging from the economic impacts, environmental effects, mental health issues, transparency and accountability issues and health governance issues among others.
During the virtual meetings, added Mnela, various experts will provide an overview of the progress that has been made in Malawi, what is working and what is not and, most importantly, provide an opportunity for the common citizen to provide insights to the leadership leading the war against COVID-19.
In the inaugural episode, panelists drawn various fields of medicine such epidemiology and virology will outline the current state of affairs since the start of the second wave while an economic analyst will shade light on the economic impact so far and going forward.
A regular panelist to iHubOnline COVID-19 related programs Epidemiologist Dr. Titus Divala will be one of the key contributors.
“I look forward to continuing the humble effort to raise awareness on COVID-19. It is always an honor to make a contribution,” said Dr. Divala.
iHubOnline is a Malawian based media start-up focusing on digital multi-media micro-publishing.
The start-up is also currently participating in the Wits University’s 2020/2021 Media Innovation Fellowship, Jamlab, to design a robust business model that enables democratisation of information through low cost means online.