Some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have been accused of not using laid down procedures when starting operations in districts, a development that causes duplication of activities, among others.
A tour to Nsanje, Mulanje and Phalombe districts last week revealed that district councils are struggling to keep track of some NGOs which implement projects without seeking approval of local councils.
Stakeholders claim the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development is delaying the process of drafting a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the ministry and NGOs which want to partner government in implementing various development projects nationwide.
During a recent tour by National Aids Commission (NAC) officials to Phalombe, district Aids coordinator (DAC) Dausi Phiri described the conduct of some NGOs as ‘deplorable.’
“Some NGOs are working in isolation. They have come silently and started implementing projects without even going through the district council. We have made some efforts to get hold of them through the district health office, but not much success has been registered. This affects our plans in many ways as some areas benefit more than others,” he said.
Stakeholders in Phalombe said data captured by the NGOs working without following procedures is not shared with the council which means it is not included on social indicators.
The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development is said to be planning to streamline operations for NGOs in various districts across the country by developing a MoU which if implemented would require all organisations partnering government in various spheres of development to abide by its terms.
But Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa, while confirming having been briefed on the problem, did not shed more light on the status of the MoU in question.
“As a minister responsible, I am aware of this challenge which is existent in many district councils across the country. The behaviour by some NGO leaders to circumvent government structures is wrong and unacceptable.
“Each district council has a district development plan which dictates which project is required where. Now this scenario means there is duplication of activities and lack of monitoring mechanisms,” he said.
Nankhumwa said his ministry would expedite the process but would not give specific timeframes for the process.
The government of Malawi is in partnership with hundreds of NGOs operating in various sectors across the country including health, food security, education, water and sanitation.