The European Union (EU) has awarded around 2.3 million euros to civil society organisations (CSOs) to strengthen their roles as actors in governance and accountability.
The funds are expected to help CSOs in promoting accountability in governance structures in the country with particular focus on independent budget analysis, expenditure tracking and monitoring the implementation of policies and laws.
“Empowered citizens are crucial in following up service delivery such as quality education and health care… So, the expectation is that this funding will result in citizen empowerment and increased participation in governance issues,” EU Ambassador Marchel Gerrmann said.
He said the funding comes at a time when the EU and Malawi are celebrating 40 years of bilateral relations this year.
“This is an opportunity to look back at the EU achievements in Malawi, but also to look forward on how to assist the country to best attain its development objectives,” Gerrmann said during the meeting at his residence in Lilongwe.
Beneficiary organisations included VSO, ActionAid, CBM, Troicaire, EMMS International and Malga. All grantees work with local partners such as Malawi Economic Justice Network (Mejn), Federation of Disability Organisations in Malawi (Fedoma), Public Affairs Committee (PAC) and Civil Society Agriculture Network (CisaNet).
On their part, the representatives of CSOs said civil society is not as active as it used to be mainly due to diverging views, political pressures and limited funding.
The meeting also observed that building accountability is a long-term process and that many people find it difficult to question those in a position of authority.