Village development committees (VDC) in Thyolo and Chiradzulu districts are exerting pressure on Pan African Civic Educators Network (Pacenet) to extend its one-year Nzotheka project.
The project aims to ensure that citizens have just and democratic governance at local level.
“Nzotheka is a very good project as it opens eyes of VDC to own projects and ensure transparency and accountability during projects. In the past, other local leaders deliberately left out local structures like VDCs in projects, but it is a different case now.
“If all VDCs in the two districts were included in the project, we could be sure of 100 percent effective governance. We ask Pacenet to extend the project to reach the remaining communities,” said group village head Kautuka of Thyolo during a media tour last week.
He said the project has taught them how to write project proposals.
Kautuka said the chief called on Pacenet to extend the project, funded by Tilitonse Fund so that more people benefit.
Pacenet Chiradzulu district coordinator George Chakwiya also said the project should be extended to include more community-based organisations and not just two per traditional authority. He also said more village heads need to be trained.
He said the project has helped in the fight against corruption during the distribution of Farm Input Subsidy Programme in 2012. He added that there is need for Pacenet to follow up on the project.
“The mistake we make as organisations at times is to train communities and leave them without following up on how they are responding after training. This is where as Pacenet, we feel it is crucial that after empowering these local structure, we need more time to work with them so that they get confidence to be on their own,” said Pacenet executive director Steven Duwa.