Mzimba CSO’s undergo training on good governance


About 45 members of the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Mzimba District, have been awarded Certificates of Participation after completing the International Republican Institute’s training on “Strengthening Local Government Systems and the Democratic Process.”

Programs Officer for IRI, Motlhabene Modupe, highlighted the importance of strengthening local accountability in Malawi (SLAM).

He further revealed that the SLAM project will be implemented in the Northern Region (Mzimba South), Southern Region (Mwanza District), and Salima in the Central Region.

“Our organization promotes democratic principles, practices, and institutions through various programs, including training sessions, technical assistance, electoral observation missions, and public opinion research,” said Modupe.

Dr. Misheck Yagontha Munthali, Lead Facilitator, who is also the Director of Civic Education in the Ministry of Local Government, Civic Education, and National Unity, said it is important for people to know how the councils operate, have a say on the developments taking place in their areas, and be able to demand different reports from their leaders. 

“As one of the facilitators, these trainings are essential and I am impressed that participants have shown great understanding of the issues we have trained them. It is my view that when people are empowered with information, issues of constructing poor infrastructure will be old songs,” said Dr. Munthali.

Speaking on behalf of the Director of Planning and Development, John Mwambughi who is the economist and Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at M’mbelwa District Council, said the training has come at the right time and it will help people understand how the council operates and the role the community as far as development is concerned.

“As a council, we are very committed to making sure people are well aware of all the developments that are taking place in their localities. Let me thank the IRI for coming up with this training,” said Mwambughi.

One of the participants, Prisca Mkandawire from the Shine on Malawi Organization, said that Overall, the training was a valuable experience that has equipped her with the knowledge and skills needed to contribute to strengthening local accountability in the district.

“I am excited to apply what I have learned and work towards building a more transparent, accountable, and responsive local government that serves the needs of all citizens,” she said

Mzimba Civil Society Organization Chairperson, Christopher Melele, expressed his appreciation to IRI for engaging the CSOs of Mzimba and called for more International organizations to partner with them.

“The training program has come at a good time when the CDF has increased by 100%. The participants are empowered to ensure that they demand accountability for the funds. Suffice it to say that this has made us aware of the importance of tracking the services rendered by the local government through the sectors. The CSOs will work closely with IRI to ensure there is transparency and accountability in the implementation of the local development projects,” said Melele.

Melele has further reminded MPs, counselors, and the secretariat not to take CSOs as enemies, saying they are there for checks and balances.

During a two-day training held at Mame Motel, participants were able to cover the following topics: local government systems in Malawi, decentralization, the setup of local councils in Malawi, functions, and services in a council, the roles of various stakeholders in a council, the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), participants in local government elections, civic engagement, and community mobilization.

IRI has also given opportunities to the organizations that were present to submit their work plans, and those with well-developed plans and strategies will be given a grant that will be used to mobilize communities for various projects in the areas of Mzimba South.

IRI is a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization dedicated to advancing democracy worldwide. It was established in 1983, and its headquarters are in Washington, DC, USA.