Civil society organisations (CSOs) in Malawi operate in an environment which impedes their sustainability, a USAid assessment report has revealed.
The 2011 CSO Sustainability Index launched on Wednesday in Malawiâ€™s capital, Lilongwe, compares Malawi to 22 other African countries on how CSOs operate and in what environment they work.
Although the index indicates that Malawiâ€™s CSOs are doing well in service delivery, the local organisations are lagging behind mostly in organisational capacity whereby some operate as â€œone person showsâ€ with weak missions and strategic plans, and also on financial viability.
â€œOn paper, most CSOs have governance systems and structures that clearly segregate powers. In reality, however, some CSOs lack appropriate division of responsibilities between their board of directors and staff members and many lack effective governance systems altogether.
â€œFurthermore, many local CSOs suffer from the â€˜founder syndromeâ€™, in which the founders make all organisation decisions without effective supervision from their boards, which are comprised of the founderâ€™s friends and associates,â€ reads the report in part.
Launching the country report, USAid Malawi deputy mission director Stephanie Funk said the report offers a wealth of information that could be useful not only for the public but also as a resource for national and local organisations, academics, donors and government.