The United States Agency for International Development (USaid) has called for enhanced coordination, governance and financial accountability among civil society organisations (CSOs) in Malawi so that they can make effective and meaningful contribution to the socioeconomic development of the country.
Tazewell: CSOs are key to Malawi's development and promotion of democratic and human rights-Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times Maganga: We value the contribution CSOs make to the development of Malawi-Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times Moses Mkandawire:This forum will provide a platform for knowledge and experience sharing-Photo by Watipaso Mzungu,Nyasa Times
USaid Malawi Mission Director, Littleton Tazewell, predicted that Malawi faces tremendous challenges in the coming years as it implements the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS) III.
"With half the population still under the poverty line and an equal amount under the age of 15, Malawi is at crossroads. It will take all sectors - government, the private sector, and the civil society - pulling together to provide jobs, public services, and accountability necessary to turn this challenge into an opportunity, and move the country forward," said Tazewell.
The USaid Malawi chief made the remarks in an interview in Lilongwe on Thursday on the sidelines of the opening of a two-day Malawi CSO Conference. The conference will run up to Friday.
The conference is held under the theme "Building a Democratic, Prosperous, and Productive Malawi Through Civic Participation" and has draw participants from 30 CSOs, which receive direct financial and technical support from the USaid.
Tazewell stated that vibrant and effective CSOs can play a key role to the achievement of Malawi's development, including social and economic growth, and furthering democratic and human rights.
He, however, observed that the civil society in Malawi faces many challenges in a number of ways, including resource mobilisation, financial sustainability, governance, and demonstrating results in their work.
"Moving forward, Malawian organisations can collaboratively overcome these challenges, through a culture of learning and sharing experiences. I hope this forum will help everyone present here to reflect on the challenges and take home some tools that will help them to be more effective in Malawi's development process," said Tazewell.
In her remarks, the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Wefare, Erica Maganga, acknowledged the significant contribution the CSOs in Malawi are making towards the achievement of the social and economic aspirations of the country.
Maganga therefore concurred with Tazewell that the organisations need to do their work in transparent and accountable manner.
"Government is always open to working with CSOs to improve the social and economic status of the people," she said.
One of the participants, Moses Mkandawire, who is also the executive director of the Church and Society Programme of the Livingstonia Synod of the CCAP, commended the USaid Malawi and Counterpart International for organising the conference.
Mkandawire said the conference will provide a platform for the CSO players to share experiences and knowledge for furthering their work in their respective areas.