United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) handed over information and communication technology equipment to the Parliament of Malawi on Tuesday.
The organisation has provided 377 ICT equipment ranging from laptops, desktops, MIFIs, TVs, Cameras, Audio-Visual equipment, internet connectivity, and Zoom licenses.
UNDP Resident Representative Shigeki Komatsubara said they progressively provided ICT equipment and technical support to Parliament, firstly as a response to the limitation of physical meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and secondly as a basis for full digitization of Parliament’s business processes.
“I hope this support has enabled the Members of Parliament and the Secretariat to seamlessly continue to operate during the pandemic.
“The equipment, and technical support provided bears testimony to the fact that the just ended 2020/21 mid-year budget review session was a hybrid sitting with only a few members present in the chamber and others joining the sessions online,” said Komatsubara.
He added that the hybrid sitting is not only a milestone on COVID-19 prevention, but it has laid the foundation for utilization of digital transformative solutions to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of Governance institutions in Malawi.
He said the lessons that have been learnt during implementation of this initial support shall be a basis for full digitization of other business processes such as the Hansard section, audio-visual department, and chamber system.
In her speech, Speaker of Parliament Catherine Gotani Hara commended UNDP for the timely donation which she said will assist the parliament to follow all the guidelines on COVID 19 as provided by the World Health Organization, the Ministry of Health and other Agencies.
She added that it is not appropriate for 193 Members of Parliament to meet in the Chamber as this could be a conducive environment for the spread of the virus.
“It important as it ensures continuity of Parliamentary work even during this very difficult time when we are grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic.” she explained.