ENGAGEMENT FOR ACCOUNTABILITY (E4A) PROJECT
Tovwirane Organization’s E4A Project is being implemented in 5 Traditional Authorities of M’mbelwa, Mzikubola, Mzukuzuku, Khosolo, and Mabulabo with the goal to build the capacity of 8 ADCs/Sub ADCs and their VDCs in Mzimba South in demanding accountability, transparency, and service provision from duty bearers and service providers by 28th February, 2021. The project, which runs for 10 months, is funded by USAID and UKAID through the Local Government Accountability Performance Program (LGAP). The project has a number of objectives, namely;
- To review the functionality of 128 local government structures and systems at district level by 28th February, 2021
- To capacitate 128 local governance structures to plan, manage, and monitor local development activities by 28th February, 2021
- To create 8 vibrant T/A-based platforms for citizens, as rights holders, to interface with duty bearers and service providers by 28th February, 2021
- To enable exchange of ideas and learning among the local citizenry so that they are empowered to demand rights and services from duty bearers and service providers by 28th February, 2021
- To promote joint planning, budgeting, and monitoring of local projects between citizens and duty bearers and service providers by 28th February, 2021.
At the end of the project, as an output, Tovwirane hopes to leave behind empowered local structures aware of and actively practicing their roles and responsibilities vis-à-vis local government development in their areas. Tovwirane Organization’s E4A project was necessitated/justified by the political atmosphere surrounding citizen participation in local government. The Local Government Act and the Decentralization Policy in Malawi mandate councils to steer local socio- economic development. The same instruments underscore the participation of citizens in local development processes, such as planning and implementation, as critical to consolidating national democracy. In the spirit of decentralization, councils execute the function of driving local development through established lower level council structures, viz; Area Development Committees (ADCs) and Village Development Committees (VDCs). These ADCs and VDCs, plus the sectoral community committees’ subsidiary to them, are the default platforms that councils and other organizations are supposed to work through in facilitating community development processes. Thus, functional ADCs and VDCs are key to effective local government development.
However, past assessments on these local structures have shown that they are not functional in and for various areas/reasons. In most cases they are not properly constituted, hence not conversant with their roles and execution of these roles. In matters of representation, they are not holding duty bearers/service providers accountable due to lack of understanding of the significance of their advocacy role, and lack of public awareness further compounds non-functionality of the VDCs & ADCs as citizens do not proactively hold the ADCs/VDCs to account on their representation roles. Further, there is a weak interface between these structures and the sectoral sub-committees, and this undermines cross sector reporting of issues at T/A and village levels to councils
Around June 2019, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MoLGRD) in Malawi directed all councils to reconstitute community structures in light of the end of their term. This development presented an opportunity to address the issues that had characteristically impeded the community development structures’ functions. Hence, Tovwirane proposed with success the implementation of the E4A project.
Tovwirane Organization is implementing the project in collaboration with and with support from many partners at district and community levels. At district level Tovwirane Organization is working with the District Council, particularly the district council secretariat and the District Community Development Office (DCDO). These will help provide guidance in implementation, reconstitute the local structures, train them, and monitor their activities to see that they are in keeping with their roles and responsibilities. District level CSOs will also take part by, inter alia, monitoring the local structures’ activities to ensure they are able to participate fully in the local development process and hold public officers accountable. The community-based partners (ADCs, VDCs) themselves will provide the human resource making up the structures as well as material resources such as community-based activity venues.