Malawi: NGO’s Bemoans Lack Of Citizenry Participation Towards Education.

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By: Eutychus Yamikani

NGOs have bemoaned lack of citizenry participation towards education service delivery in Malawi due to lack of access to relevant information from government.

But whether that statement is true it is yet to be proven right when there is evidence of similar replication of projects by different NGO’s in some districts like Mzimba in the name of transparency and accountability in management of education service delivery.

Talking of education it is not inevitable that there are shortfalls, and loop holes in the delivery of services, just for accountability’s sake, the just started Malawi school certificate of education (MSCE) will showcase the disease of cheating and exams leaking.

As Malawians waits to know what some organizations calling themselves nonprofit do when a chunk of pounds is presented before them?

Wezi Chipeta is an Executive director for Ungweru organization based in the northern part of Malawi and says it is time that the community and duty bearers come face to face and be able to follow up developments in the delivery of education services.

“Our Project background and analysis indicates that the right to education has been enshrined in various international convections and national constitutions.

“The right to education has the capacity to enable individuals to fulfill their life aspirations as education has an enabling ability to demand what is appropriate for one’s social and economic development.

“The project assessment carried out in the proposed area revealed some serious gaps in education service delivery.”

Though the above statements almost sets the mood of why works done on paper can entice the uninformed reader abruptly.

Director of public works for M’mbelwa district council  Clivason Nyando where the NGO is implementing its project said the initiatives brought in by such organization is welcome, but he highlighted the need for both sides to exchange information with each other.

“we are not consulted when they are doing their survey on why certain projects stalled, ofcouse Malawi is a poor nation and shouldn’t lose a thing in such projects, truth be told, there is need of realistic direction when organizations embark on transparency and accountability projects, but they should also come with solutions,” said Nyando.

That question was answered by Chipeta in this manner:

“Ungweru accessed a grant of GBP 19,990.67 equivalent to MK16, 992,070 million for the Watolepo lwande project to be implemented in Inkosana kamnkhoti Mkandawire of Inkosi Nthwalo in Mzimba district.

“The project is funded by Tili tose fund through joint donors (DFID, Irish Aid and Royal Norwegian Embassy), and specifically targets 4 schools, namely, Doroba, Kawili, Mtende and Kayombo.

“The average classroom pupil ratio in the four schools stands 1: 80 which is above the recommended standard of 1:60.Some teachers are housed outside the school premises because of inadequate teacher houses.

“All the four schools do not have adequate sanitation facilities, the recommended learners to toilet facility ratio is 1:25 for boys and 1:15 for girls. The situation in all the schools is grossly unacceptable as the current learner to toilet ratio is at 1:300.

“This renders the learning environment to be unconducive thereby leading to lack of interaction in school by learners. This is particularly so for girls as they find it difficult to take care of themselves during their menstruation period. The resultant effect is regular school absenteeism and drop-out.

“Therefore Ungweru as an organization is persuaded that the status quo should be challenged if the right to education for the children to be assured. So even though we are doing a software project, and the communities we are reaching may find it hard to see whether we are doing anything, ours I to promote mindset change and give a platform where the duty bearers and the community can communicate effectively for meaningful education service delivery.”

Though Ungweru is doing what it regard as a unique project, another organization Voice of Livingstonia is implementing a similar project in the same Inkosi Nthwalo with same sponsor and one wonders who should be transparent and accountable.

Until then the vast district in Malawi and other districts continue to be stormed by NGO’s specialized in sourcing funds from the west for their own gratification or that’s radical…better check the statistics.

Ungweru is a Christian based local non-Governmental Organization registered as Non-Governmental organization in 2009 with a Vision statement of promoting community groups in Malawi who try to uplift their communities and their surroundings and a mission statement that states: in liaison with stakeholders, Ungweru endeavors to empower the disadvantaged communities with appropriate skills and resources in meeting the community livelihood needs.

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