Currently, COSOMA has ten rights holder associations namely, Book Publishers Association of Malawi (BPAM), Malawi Writers Union (MAWU), Photographers Association of Malawi (PHOTAMA), National Theatre Association of Malawi, (NTAM), Visual Artists Association of Malawi (VAAM), Musicians Union of Malawi (MUM), Journalists Union of Malawi (JUMA), Poetry Association of Malawi (PAM), Music and Folkloric Dance Songs Society (MFDMSS).
The Book Publishers Association of Malawi (BPAM) was established in 1996 when publishing houses in the country felt the need to have an association to co-ordinate issues related to the book industry to contribute towards improving literacy level in Malawi and to promote the culture of reading amongst youths as the future leaders of tomorrow. The association has legible membership base of 19 nationwide and for the past 8 (eight) years BPAM benefited from the Cultural Support Scheme (CSS) project to implement capacity building interventions and out-reach programs. Some of the activities previously implemented include training seminars to enhance their members skills in publishing and marketing and establishment of reading circles aimed at improving the reading culture of the masses improving reading culture.
The Film Association of Malawi (FAMA) was established in the late 2011 with an ultimate goal of bringing together and coordinate persons and groups involved in the production and promotion of films in Malawi. The Association has three structures namely: the General Assembly comprising the membership of the organization, the Executive comprises 10 positions derived from the core team responsible for the management of the organization and the board of trustees comprising five members. The film association of Malawi is a membership organization, which takes on board issues with promotion of film industry in Malawi. FAMA has a mandate to build capacity of its members through trainings and forums that encourage knowledge-sharing, production of local films, improve the quality of local productions including coordinating and networking of persons and groups involved in the production and promotion of film in the country and preserve Malawian culture through film. As membership organization, eligible members are obliged to pay affiliation fee amounting to MK3, 000 per calendar year to take part in various activities that the association intend to implement however, the affiliation fee is subject to review annually.
The Journalists Union of Malawi (JUMA) was established in 2006 as an organization to promote the welfare of journalists through advocating for their rights and fair reporting in cultural related information. The governance structure of JUMA comprises of the National Congress, the National Governing Council, Board of Trustees and the Secretariat. This set up reflects the operational organization of the Union. However, practically, the day-to-day activities of the Union are done by the Secretariat, which acts as an implementing agent and provides advisory services to the Board of Trustees, the National Congress and the National Council. Malawian journalists joined fellow global associations and unions in acknowledging that journalism is a profession worth protecting, by forming a union.
Malawi has a very rich cultural diversity exemplified by national monuments, artifacts, relics, Museums, heritage centers and cultural expressions including: - music, song and dances, games, folk tales, handcrafts, beliefs, language, literature and religion. Furthermore, culture is crucial for poverty reduction, sustainable social- economic development, increased sense of national identity and unity as well as any other human endeavors. In recognition of this fact, the Government of Malawi in 2005 took the initiative to facilitate the establishment of Malawi Folk dance, Music and Song Society (MFDMSS) with a view of promoting and developing Malawian culture, in particular its unique folkloric arts.
The Malawi Writers Union (MAWU) is a national body of Creative Writers in Malawi. It was formed in September 1995 following a democratic dispensation that was attained in Malawi in 1994 and the current membership is at 850. The Union has five distinct writers’ desks namely the Budding Writers, Women Writers Desk, Non Fiction writers, Religious Writers, Schools’ Affiliate and the established authors (those who have authored one or more books). The Union has seven boards of directors and two advisers. MAWU has managed to build the capacity of its members through various trainings in relation to writing.
The Musicians Union Malawi [MUM] established in the year 1994 and formally registered in May 2002 with the aim of protecting the rights and welfare of musicians. As a music body, it has greatly worked with Copyright Society of Malawi (COSOMA) as body that oversees the collection and distribution of loyalties for production works. MUM has almost 1, 500 members nationwide, however, it has been facing challenges mainly in distribution and promotion of local music and massive growth of piracy. The Union has been working with COSOMA through Cultural Support Scheme (CSS) project to implement capacity-building interventions. It has conducted numerous activities under the Scheme with an ultimate goal of improving capacity building and promotion of Malawian music by creating industry that will be appreciated as a representation of Malawian culture with viable sales and marketing skills.
The National Theatre Association of Malawi [NTAM] was established in 1988 as Drama Association of Malawi [DAM]. In a couple of the succeeding years, it changed its name to National Theatre Association of Malawi (NTAM to reflect other elements that go with drama such as dances and singing. The Association has since then remained a coordinating body for theatrical arts in Malawi. NTAM was formed to protect the interests, mediates and resolves issues involving performers, drama and choreographic groups on both individual and collective note. The association is comprised of a functional Board of trustees, Executive Members at national level, regional level and some districts within the country and it has almost 150 members nationwide.
Photographers Association of Malawi [PHOTAMA] was established to promote and protect the photographic works and the industry in general. The association provides help, guidance and up-to-date information on photography business, opportunities, equipment, among other things. It also raises awareness to its members on their rights and the rights of others who they may come into contact with in course of their work. The governance structure of PHOTAMA comprises the General Assembly, Board of Trustees, the National Executive Committee (NEC) and Secretariat. The association has its secretariat in Blantyre with 113 registered members (2014-2015).
The Poetry Association of Malawi (PAM) is a national organization founded in 1997 and registered on 4th September, 1998 by the Registrar General under the Trustees Corporation Act of 1962. It was established in order to accomplish among others the following objectives:
To bring together persons and/or groups involved in the promotion of poetry in the country;
To promote and preserve Malawian culture through poetry; and
To educate, inform and entertain the nation through poetic works.
Visual Arts Association of Malawi (VAAM) was established and registered in 2002 with an ultimate goal of improving and promoting visual artistic work in Malawi. The Association was established to promote and protect fine arts and crafts in order to contribute to the cultural and socio-economic development of the country. Currently its membership base is over 200 nationwide. Since the establishment of VAAM, Cultural Support Scheme Project has supported it to open regional chapters including in the eastern region. VAAM accomplished a number of skills in capacity building interventions as well as organizational capacity. Such trainings includes business management and marketing. It also held sensitization meetings on environmental degradation and management, conducted exhibitions, all which have contributed to the growth and recognition of visual artists in Malawi.