Lilongwe — Malawi will host the first ever training conference for Ombudsman institutions in Africa from the 5th to 9th February, 2018 which is aimed at strengthening the institutions in the promotion of transparency, ethics and accountability.
The country's Ombudsman, Martha Chizuma said this Thursday in Lilongwe during a media briefing her institution organised at the Central Office of Information to brief journalists on the same.
According to the Ombudsman, the training follows a European Union (EU)'s decision in April, 2017 to include her institution in the EU-funded Chilungamo Programme.
"Esteemed Ladies and Gentlemen, I am proud to announce that our first major activity early in the year  has come in form of hosting a continent-wide training conference," she announced.
Chizuma said the objective of the training is to build and enhance competencies of the Ombudsman and their staff in the promotion of good governance and accountability through information sharing and integrating various technical aspects of the work of the ombudsman.
The training also aims at discussing ways of strengthening and re-aligning the ombudsman in a changing African environment and forging partnerships among ombudsman institutions.
Malawi as a country stands to benefit from the training conference through information sharing, ombudsman coalitions and other relevant stakeholders.
Delegates at the training conference are also expected to discuss ways of improving transparency and accountability in the public sector which are said to be common across Africa.
"I realized that Malawi's problems in areas of transparency and accountability are not peculiar to us but are actually an African problem and even beyond.
"While appreciating that there are a lot of positive strides that Ombudsman institutions have taken in this area, there is still a long way to go as reflected by the state of public institutions in these countries," she observed.
The four-day training for the African Ombudsman institutions has attracted about 70 international delegates from 24 Ombudsman countries.
Several institutions have funded the training conference including the Malawi Government through the Office of Ombudsman; European Union through the Chilungamo Programme; International Ombudsman Institute (IOI) and African Ombudsman Research Centre (AORC).
Besides staff from the Office of the Ombudsman, other local institutions to participate in the training include Ant Corruption Bureau (ACB), Malawi Human Rights Commission, the Public Sector Reform Commission and the National Audit among others.