The Nyasaland District Administration Reports contain the records of the British colonial rule in Malawi. Dated 1891 to 1964, they collect the district’s activities and development from the earliest times. However, they are stored in the district warehouse, where storage conditions are unsuitable.
Between 1891 and 1964, Nyasaland – today Malawi – was under British rule. The District’s Administration Reports document the administration of each district in the territory, as well as their development and activities. These include agriculture, traditional customs, health, recreation and trade. The documents also show statistical analysis of the territory.
The materials are mostly located in warehouses of district councils throughout the country, gathering dust and moisture. In the worst conditions, they are torn apart and used for starting fires. The personnel of the warehouses are not trained to preserve the materials, which are often stored along with old tyres, brooms, mops and other foreign material.
This was a pilot project with the aim of surveying the records, assessing the collection and digitising small parts of it. The survey was conducted in all 24 district councils existing at the time. The project recommended the relocation to the National Archives of Malawi of almost all records found, and digitised a total of 1,057 pages. Staff were trained in digitisation skills and cataloguing. A major project builds on this survey and has the aim of digitising 20,000 further records.