By: Vincent Gunde
A Report by the Non Governmental Organisations Board of Malawi ( NGO Board), has revealed that the budget figures for NGOs are beating those for the District Councils where they are implementing their projects.
The revelation is not a surprise that at one of the previous full council meeting held at the Dowa boma, Minister of Gender, Children, Disabilities and Social Welfare, Dr. Jean Nachika Kalilani, asked the Dowa District Council to sumon all NGOs implementing their various interventions in the district to disclose their budget lines for projects.
Dr. Kalilani, lamented that a lot of Malawian pictures are being displayed in America and Europe for donors to support, but the support ends up in the pockets of some NGOs leaders, enriching themselves at the expense of the poor. The Malawi Local Government General Assembly( MALGA) meeting held in Salima from 20th_ 21st July, this year, presented a report on the differences of budget figures for the participants to share experiences and see how best to make improvements.
Present at the meeting were District Commissioners, Council Chairpersons and Councilors from each of the 35 Councils in Malawi and in particular, Dowa, Mangochi, Mzimba and Chikwawa District Councils, the districts where the NGO Board piloted the mapping exercise between February and March, this year.
Also in attendance, were officials from different government ministries and departments, donor agencies and representatives of different international and local NGOs.
Presenting a Report on the results of the NGO Mapping exercise, the Board’s Chief Executive officer, Voice Mhone, said despite allocations by the national budget to District Councils for all services, NGOs budget figures remained far much higher than those of the Councils.
Mhone said NGOs in the four piloted districts had a total budget of K31 billion for 2017-18 financial year, compared to the government budget of K5.4 billion.
According to the Report, NGOs operating in Chikwawa had K9.2 billion budget against the Council’s K1.4 billion, while in Mangochi, NGOs had K6.9billion against Council’s K2.1 billion, Dowa NGOs had K3.7billion against Council’s K1.4 billion while Mzimba had K11.3billion, against Council’s K1.5 billion.
“The current National Budget has made allocations for the District Education Offices, Agriculture Offices, Health, Public Works and Constituency Development Fund( CDF), among others, but still the comparison with the NGO sector shows NGOs having huge sums of money “, Mhone said.
District Commissioner for Mzimba, Thomas Chirwa, hailed the NGO mapping initiative by the NGO Board saying it revealed a lot of things.
Chirwa said it seemed the amount of money NGOs had, is not matching with the impact on the ground, expressing hope that the coming in of the NGO Board would help Councils to coordinate their activities with NGOs and track down the impact of the huge sum of money on the people.
On his part, Mangochi District Commissioner, Mosses Owen Chimphepo, said the impact of most activities by NGOs in the district were difficult to measure.
Chimphepo said the challenge is that most of the activities by the NGOs in Mangochi are in software type of projects.
” We don’t see much of hardware type of projects, most of their activities are trainings, meetings, orientations and civic education and yet, alot of money is going through that “. He said.
Chimphepo said as a council, they had a lot of challenges interms of hardware projects, such as classroom blocks and teachers houses.
He asked the NGOs to balance their activities with the “software and hardware type of projects ” if the communities are to appreciate their impact on the ground.
In his remarks, the President of MALGA, Wild Ndipo, who is also Mayor of the city of Blantyre, said the Assembly meets annually to share experiences and see how best to make improvements for the good of the people.