The Malawi Government has to brace for tougher times in the fight against HIV and Aids following the decision by the United Kingdom (UK) to terminate assistance to Concern-led Consortium due to financial challenges.
The development that has led to the premature closure of PROSPER Project in Balaka. This means the Malawi Government will be forced to source funding to fill the gap the UK has left.
The Malawi News Agency (MANA) reports that during a District Civil Protection Committee (DCPC) meeting on Thursday, discussions based on a report in the meeting indicated that UK public finance has reduced its Official Development Assistance (ODA) contribution to Malawi making the budget lower than previously planned.
Project Manager for PROSPER at United Purpose (UP) Lansen Chikopa said Covid-19 pandemic has hit UK finances severely and forced them to embrace tough measures on the economy.
"This has compelled the UK to trim funding allocation to Malawi from 0.7 percent to 0.5 percent Gross National Income (GNI). Concern led consortium consisting of Concern Worldwide, GOAL Malawi, UP, Kadale Consultants, CUMO and CARD including PROSPER markets components shall no longer mature as planned and the project must end in July 2021," he added.
Chikopa said Balaka was prone to disasters such as dry spells, flood, stormy rains, fall armyworms among others which made it hard for communities to survive as such, UP through PROSPER project planned a four years rescue plan targeting 204, 936 households in both Balaka and Chikwawa districts.
"The Project's outputs included intensified and diversified agricultural production, improved nutrition to vulnerable communities, reduced vulnerability and exposure of households to risk." he said, adding that for the first two years, the project encountered many challenges and there was hoped that the remaining two years would see the project settled and register success.
"Now that the project is prematurely phasing out, many households will suffer and we call upon well-wishers to intervene and save the communities," he added.
Relief and Rehabilitation Officer for Balaka, Davie Chibani said the development would affect the council's effort in implementing disaster risk management activities.
"The move is regrettable considering the impact the project had on disaster management, many people in the district started to rely on them and this acted as a relief to the government in terms of relief fund during disaster," he stated.
Chibani added that, "The termination of the project means that the district council should brainstorm other remedial strategies to replace PROSPER and continue registering improved performance which cannot be done in a moment, it is a huge setback."