United Nations Education and Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) has withdrawn its award to Dapp Malawi for its teacher training programme over allegations of financial abuse which the non-governmental organisation (NGO) has since denied.
The NGO was scheduled to receive part of $300 000 (about K220 million) meant to be split with See Beyond Borders of Cambodia and the University of Malaya (Malaysia) to help teachers perform more effectively.
Unesco joins DfID and Unicef as some of the organisations that have withdrawn support to the NGO following international media reports putting Dapp Malawi on the spotlight on how it allegedly handled donor funds.
A post on the Unesco website in March this year confirms the withdrawal of the award.
It reads: “In light of recent reports, the Unesco Director-General has decided to suspend immediately the participation of Dapp Malawi in all relations with Unesco, including the Unesco Hamdan Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Prize For Outstanding Practice and Performance in Enhancing the Effectiveness of Teachers.
“Dapp Malawi was rewarded for the In-Service Teacher Training Programme in Malawi which it initiated in 2012 to help teachers expand their knowledge of teaching methods and community involvement. It offers courses and materials through a network of qualified teachers.”
Unicef also confirmed it no longer has any relationship with Dapp Malawi, but fell short of divulging details or reasons for terminating relations. Unicef further said the termination of the relationship was not restricted to Dapp Malawi, but all sister foundations of its international network worldwide.
“Please note that since 30 November 2016, Unicef has had no relationship with any entities within the Humana network, including Dapp in Malawi,” said Najwa Mekki, officer-in-charge, Media SectionUnicef in New York.
Britain’s foreign aid arm, DfID has also cut ties with Dapp Malawi. A spokesperson for the British High Commission in Lilongwe, in an e-mailed statement, confirmed that the action by the UK was prompted by allegations of fraud.
“Payments to Dapp have been stopped and programmes terminated. DfID has a zero-tolerance approach to fraud and corruption. As our investigation is ongoing, it would not be appropriate to comment further,” a spokesperson’s emailed response stated this week.
However, Dapp Malawi country director Lisbeth Thomsen in an e-mailed response dismissed any allegation of wrongdoing.
“Since its foundation in 1995, Dapp Malawi has over the past 21 years undertaken humanitarian work that has reached and affected the lives of nearly three million people in Malawi, working in a challenging and complex environment and helping to tackle multiple economic, social and health-related challenges.
“Dapp Malawi strongly denies any accusations of financial impropriety or misuse of donor funds. Dapp Malawi has taken extensive action to conclusively demonstrate that there has not at any time been any misuse of donor funds, and no such allegations have been shown to have any merit or basis in fact,” said Thomsen.
She did not, however, respond to queries on whether Dapp Malawi still maintains its ties with the organisations.
When it was awarded the money, Dapp’s international partner, Humana People to People, proudly shared the news on its website and social media platforms. On its Facebook page, the charity arm, among others, highlighted how it would go a long way uplifting lives of vulnerable young learners in Malawi.
“Dapp Malawi has been awarded a Unesco-Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Prize for Outstanding Practice and Performance in Enhancing the Effectiveness of Teachers. This follows the implementation and the subsequent scaling-up of a Unicef supported programme called We Do More Teachers.
“The goal of the programme is to reduce the dropout rate of standard 1 and 2 learners through securing a more smooth transition for the children when going from the community-Based Care Centres to primary… A bout 116 primary schools are involved in rural Lilongwe, Malawi,” read a post reacting to the news.