At least 20 local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are on the verge of closing down following the decision by donors and development partners to pull the plug on their support to Malawi.
The development has created panic among the NGOs, saying it was a drawback towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through enhanced transparency, accountability and good governance.
Speaking in Lilongwe on the sidelines of the 2019 Civil Society Education Coalition annual general meeting, the coalition’s executive director, Benedicto Kondowe, said, among other things, lack of funds could frustrate efforts to improve infrastructure in public schools.
The meeting took place on Saturday under the theme: ‘NGOs Making a Difference in the Education Sector; Leave No One Behind.’
“The number of NGOs folding up could be higher. Some are essentially operating on paper because practically, they have nothing. They have no supported programmes. They cannot even pay their [members of] staff. I wish to appeal to the donor community to continue supporting NGOs working in the education sector because the government alone cannot deliver the required aspirations,” he said.
“If the NGOs fold up, the loss on the government’s part would be huge. It means that no more additional classroom blocks, trained and qualified teachers, early childhood development centres and learning and teaching materials. The contribution NGOs are making to the education sector is enormous. For example, Development Aid from People to People is contributing to production of the human capital needed to drive the education agenda. If it folds up, there will be inadequate qualified teachers.”
Education, Science and Technology Minister, William Susuwele Banda, who was the guest of honour, admitted that the government would struggle to feel the gap in the event that some NGOs close shop.
“It is sad that this is happening. NGOs are doing a lot. Some NGOs have even introduced technology in schools which is helping unlock children’s talent and increase their excitement to go to school. Communities are also appreciating the importance of schools and taking part in the management of such structures because of these NGOs,” Banda said.