Talk about Newsnight


Malawi wins Oh My Newsnight

  • Newsnight
  • 22 Dec 06, 11:54 AM

omn66.jpgCongratulations to Joe Blanks (presenter/producer) and Greg McKinney (editor), winners of the popular vote in our viewers’ film competition Oh My Newsnight.

Joe and Greg’s film highlights the work of the charity Mary’s Meals, which provides school dinners to impoverished and hungry children in many countries, and specifically Malawi - the project featured in the film. Their two-minute wonder will be shown on Newsnight on Friday 22 December at 2230 on BBC Two.

But you can enjoy below in its original format.

MALAWI by Joe Blanks and Greg McKinney

Congratulations also to Matthew Bristow who took the editor’s choice award for his film on the production of cocaine in Colombia.

COLOMBIA by Matthew Bristow

And you can see all of the shortlisted entries again here.

Comments  Post your comment

Newsletter you have some small grayed out icons at the top of the page. They lead you to:

Why don't you make it clear what it icons are supposed to do.

Can you please talk to: Michael Walsh, Matthew Cashmore in your R and D and PC development departments

P. S. you did not leave enough time for people to think about and make videos during this "contest" why don't you make it a running feature.

  • 2.
  • At 07:03 PM on 22 Dec 2006,
  • john decamps wrote:

The next David Frost's of the new Melenium.Sorry forgot to mension Geremy Paxman,watched these two guys since they first appered on tv way back,,That Was The Week That Was came to mind when i saw the young guy in Stafford with the Hair do presenting the 2min video.Geremy on Esther Rantzens show. What stunning shows they were.

  • 3.
  • At 11:02 PM on 22 Dec 2006,
  • Martin wrote:

Joe Blanks doesn't understand why the cost of food differs between the UK and Africa. I suggest he consults an economist. Most of the adult viewers of this supposedly adult program are aware of the basics of some of the basics of capitalism and would prefer a more grown-up analysis of the problems of global poverty.

  • 4.
  • At 12:47 PM on 23 Dec 2006,
  • Joseph Lennon wrote:

Thanks to Newsnight and Joe Blanks (and his crew) I have been introduced to a worthy cause that is affordable for someone like myself. If a few pence a day can both educate and feed a child then I know that my money will be well spent.

  • 5.
  • At 03:37 AM on 24 Dec 2006,
  • Lilly Evans wrote:

Well worthwhile exercise. Film on Columbian drugmaking was scary and should be part of every school class on danger of drugs!

Thank you Newsnight for overcoming Paxo's initially snide remarks.

I was happy to hear that a Malawi won becuase it means money is being generated for a good cause and that's brilliant news. However, i know Malawi well and run a charity that works there and can assure you that it does not cost that little to feed a child there. I understand that charities use 'buzz pharases', something catchy and straightforward to generate funds, interest and awareness, but in my opinion it is hugely important not to create a misleading image of the assistance required there. It is a myth that people in Africa can live off pennies each day. Going to school for example costs more than fees - students need uniforms, food, soap, transport money to get to and from school, payment to write exams, pencils, exercise books, text books. In terms of food - maize in malawi per 50 Kg bag costs £5 right after the harvest (and this is only because farmers are desperate for money and sell their maize at prices that are too low for them to be able to survive on the profits) and rises to £12 later in the year. A family of 4 can live on about a bag and a half a month. However this maize (in the form of Nsima shown in the video) has practically zero nutrients and is not something a healthy person can eat alone. Malawians always eat relish along with the maize - ideally meat / fish / or eggs and vegetables - but most can't afford these often and may have beans / vegetables alone. They also need to buy cooking oil, salt, and if possible some sugar and groundnuts for porridge in the morning, and fruits. To give you an idea of the cost of relish a skinny chicken cost £2 - a fat one £3, while fish are cheaper - maybe for 30p you can buy enough of the little fish they eat in the village for one person for a meal. It is relish that is expensive - and it costs roughly £2-£3 on average a day to feed a family of 4 if they eat a minumum to be healty. Malawi has a huge problem with malnutrition - 50% of the population has stunted growth because of it. Furthermore HIV/AIDS affects a great percentage of the population (at least 16%, but probably more) and people who have the virus NEED a good balanced diet - the body uses more energy when it is fighting the virus and it is not possible to take the medicines available to fight HIV unless you have a lot of food. As I said - its brilliant that awareness has been raised for Marys Meals and for Malawi - school feeding programmes are undoubtably a good idea and we have supported similar locally run projects - but Malawians and others in the developing world - deserve more than being kept on the brink of starvation and malnutrition. An school feeding program will add oil, groundnuts and sugar to the nsima (maize) to make it nutritious - and thats only breakfast. A minimal diet for a healthy life costs a lots more that just pennies each day.

  • 7.
  • At 08:48 PM on 26 Dec 2006,
  • Rose Kolley wrote:

The possible etymology of relish is interesting.I can't help wondering if the term has derived from the fact that protein such as chicken has been in such short supply for so long amongst the poor of Malawi for that it is effectively seen as a condiment.

Being the father of Joe Blanks and a Mary's Meals volunteer, I find it really interesting to read through some of these comments. Joe was just turned 17 when, working alone, he and his friend Greg had the talent and enthusiasm to make this film - and I think they certainly crammed a lot into their 2 minutes! Undoubtedly, they seem to have caused a lot of interest and comments on the subject of world hunger. It was a great pity though that, due to Joe being on tour with his band and unable to fly due to fog, he couldn't attend the Newsnight studio for an interview (also, the screenings had been brought forward by three weeks at short notice).

I am not an economist but am familiar with the problem of critically hungry children and have spent a great deal of time (at my own cost) witnessing at first hand the problem - and the direct action being taken by Mary's Meals volunteers. I just wish everyone could experience the same so that they could better understand what Mary's Meals is all about and how it achieves such incredible results.

I would also like to talk with Michell (comment 6) If you have spent a lot of time in Malawi, I think maybe we could learn things from each other.

Finally,we all know that, while some people 'talk', other people 'do'. So if any 'talk'ers out there (or for that matter critics) would like instead to become 'do'ers, could I suggest that you get in touch with Mary's Meals and find out more about what they do and how they do it.

  • 9.
  • At 11:58 AM on 27 Dec 2006,
  • Cecil Hartley wrote:

How ironic that an ice cream should cost six pounds.As a result of this film I asked family and friends who wanted to give me something for Christmas to make a donation to Oxfam instead of wasting their money in Oxford Street stores.

It's my understanding that the HIV virus dies once it leaves the body so mutual masturbation and oral sex (especially if you don't come in your partner's mouth) are both relatively safe. WBR LeoP

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