The NGO Board of Malawi has started engaging local and international NGOs in a bid to end a dispute over funding and project partnerships.
This year in April the Ministry of Gender which is responsible for NGOs coordination received a petition from local NGOs which asked the Minister’s office to issue a decree to stop the international NGOs from implementing programs at district and community level.
Congoma Executive Director Ronald Mtonga said at a meeting on Tuesday that there is an issue around partnership as the local NGOs are saying that international NGOs should not be implementing projects on the ground but instead they should work through the local NGOs.
The local NGOs argue that if the international NGOs leaves, the local NGOs will be here and continue to follow up on issues.
The local NGOs are also worried that when there is a call for proposals for funding or grants, International NGOs which have come all the way from America, England compete for the same local resources in Malawi with the local NGOs.
“So we as Congoma together with NGO board we are saying can you give us your views that’s why we have decided to engage these NGOs both local and International,” said Mtonga.
Speaking after the meeting, NGO board Director of Corporate Services Linda Bridget Njikho said they thought it wise to get inputs from international and local NGOs on the formulation of the partnership regulations between the international and local NGOs.
“So through the discussion that the Minister had with local and International NGOs, the Minister gave us the issues and advised us to consult and form a regulation that will guide how the project at district level should be implemented when it comes to issues dealing with International and local NGOs.
“That’s why we have recruited a consultant to commence this process today and we are meeting with International NGOs to get their input and how they look at the issues and then we will proceed to meet with local NGOs at regional level and I believe that throughout this process as NGO Board will be able to get input from both sides local and International NGOs pertaining to the partnership regulations and we believe that when we will be coming up with the regulations it will be a regulation that will have input from both parties and it will work at district and Community level,” said Njikho.
On his part, Co-Chair of International NGO forum who is Director of Water for People Ulemu Chiluzi said that as International NGOs they are happy with the meeting the NGO Board has organised because it will help both local and International NGOs on how they can work together and partner because there are number of issues that are coming out in terms of funding, accountability and also issues around who should do what in districts where they work.
He added that he believes there is going to be a line where they could strike a balance on how they can work together because both parties need each other.
NGO board will submit the recommendations from the meetings to the Ministry of Justice to be fed into the development of subsidiary regulations that will help partnership between local and International NGOs.