International donors of Adventist Development Relief Agency of Malawi (Adra) have pulled out after the board of Adra Malawi rejected a review report on its operations and recommendations the donors made.
The donors’ pull-out would affect 2.5 million Malawians who benefit from Adra projects directly and indirectly across the country, according to an insider conversant with the projects.
Since its inception in 1983, Adra Malawi has been implementing HIV and Aids, food security, governance and education programmes, tailored to reach out to the vulnerable.
The insider disclosed that Adra Malawi has been receiving an average of combined K2.5 billion from its donors; meaning that their pulling out, which would bring Adra on its knees, would render miserable lives of 2.5 million people.
Confirming the pulling out of the donors in a response to a questionnaire, Adra Malawi board chairperson pastor Frackson Kuyama said the donors include Adra International America, where Adra is headquartered, Adra Sweden, Adra Denmark and Adra Australia.
About 65 full-time employees, according to the insider, would also be affected.
Among the recommendations, the donors demanded removal of Adra Malawi acting country director (CD) Hastings Lacha for his alleged disregard to policy and procedure.
Lacha, who was serving at Adra Uganda as coordinator for an emergency project targeting refugees, was hired in January 2019 after the former country director Michael Usi left the organisation and joined frontline politics.
Findings on external review of aspects of Adra Malawi operations, compiled by Adra Africa on request by Adra Australia, Adra Denmark and Adra Sweden, dated December 30 2019, faulted the prevailing working environment at the organisation in Malawi.
Lacha opted not to comment, referring us to the board.
The review was approved by Kuyama, but in his response to a questionnaire, he said the board rejected the report because the donors did not respect their [board’s] views.
“Much as we appreciate donor support, this is on partnership agreement where views/opinions from both parties are supposed to be respected,” Kuyama said.
He argued that there was no single policy or procedure which one could challenge and point out as contravened as alleged in the said report.
“As far as Adra Malawi board is concerned, that report you are referring to is not credible and leaves a lot to be desired for lack of proper procedures, content and the motive behind the investigation team,” he said.
He added that the team just came up with the final report, tailored from abroad and they only got to see it when it was already in circulation among their donors.
“We surely know what we are talking about. Therefore, in a nutshell, Adra Malawi rejected the report because it did not represent a true reflection of issues on the ground and it was published without the input/consent of both management and the board,” he said.
He dismissed claims that Lacha created unhealthy working environment, arguing that the new management was only trying to bring sanity and austerity measures for the organisation and definitely, those resisting change devise other means to throw mud on such reforms.
He also dismissed claims of favouring Adventists, arguing that of the 65 staff members they have, 60 percent are non-Adventists. On fears that jobs of Adra Malawi employees are on the line, he admitted that the pulling out of the donors has, indeed, affected some projects.
“Those that will be released are those that were directly involved in such respective projects. As procedure, we ought to officially write them. It is not everyone. Of course, they will be considered to other future projects in the pipeline because of the family-feeling that we share at Adra Malawi,” he said. n