It's Rain Day! Activists use the arts to raise awareness

Rain day

Malawi's history books are replete with stories of how the different tribes would celebrate and pray for rain and it’s life-giving power. Most of Malawi's existence is also owed to it as the country thrives on rain-fed agriculture.

To commemorate the day which falls on 29th July, under the theme ‘Restore Our Earth’; Movement for Environmental Action (MEA) in partnership with Creative Solutions for the Environment (CSE) have announced a series of activities to draw attention to the importance of rain and altered rainfall patterns leading to droughts in some areas and the opposite –inundations- in others.

"Commemorating ‘Rain Day’ in Malawi provides us an opportunity to reflect on the floods and droughts that we have had in the recent past.

Mkanthama: Time to reflect

"On the other hand, Rain Day should bring back the consideration of green spaces and urban forests. if created, nurtured and enhanced, urban green spaces can extend the resilience and security of energy, health and water, food and biodiversity systems. Sustainable Development Goal 11 (SDG 11) emphasizes on making cities sustainable to build resilient societies and economies. Investing in urban green space can help in reducing the negative impacts of heavy rains; we may recall the flooding that happened in Lilongwe city," says Conservation Arts official, poet and ethnomusicologist Clifford Mkanthama.

Creative Solutions for the Environment Volunteer Project Officer Melvin Kamisa adds: "We believe that rains play a vital part to keep our plants and trees alive. We partnered with MEA to share awareness to the masses on the relevance of the rain day and to do an activity that would show to people what they can do to ensure that rains are always available in time and sufficiently."

Conservation Arts will utilise online platforms to bring awareness through songs and poems.

The Arts group has done an original song titled ‘Mvula Kolore’ from ancestoral folk songs when praying for rains during droughts performed here by Clifford and Collins

‘Nzothekera’ a song done by Tigris talks about prevention of floods and response preparedness

‘Madzi ndi Moyo’ a poem written and performed by Zinja

The other activity highlights and shares digital research work that has been done in Malawi related to rainfall variability and crop production. This will be done via blogging and on social media forums including WhatsApp.

 The Earth Day Network, the organiser of Earth Day has been working in 190 countries since April 22, 1970, set aside 29th July as the ‘World Rain Day.’