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Board tips NGOs on development

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Non-Governmental Organisations Board (NGO Board) has advised NGOs to align their interventions to Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS III) and district development plans (DDPs) so that their interventions can have a meaningful impact on Malawians.

NGO Board Director of Economic and Monitoring Services, Geoffrey Chimwala, said by aligning their work to MGDS III and DDPs, the NGOs will enable government quantify the contribution they are marking against the country’s development strategies.

Chimwala was reacting to the recommendations of the MGDS III review report, which Vice-President Saulos Chilima launched at the Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe on Thursday.

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“The MGDS review report is urging NGOs to concentrate on a few projects that can make a big impact. In this regard, NGOs are being urged not to spread their little resources to many projects, but concentrate on those that can improve the living standards of Malawians in whose name they mobilise resources,” he said.

The MGDS III review report has made a number of findings and recommendations, key among them being the need for donors to timely disburse funding to NGOs so that the latter are able to implement activities as planned.

The report also recommends strengthening of the NGO Board to enable it carry out evaluation and monitoring work of NGOs and ensure that NGOs are submitting annual reports to the board so that their contribution to the Gross Domestic Product or national development is quantified, documented and profiled.

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Furthermore, it emphasises the need to strengthen monitoring and evaluation of the work being done by all stakeholders, including NGOs.

But Chimwala has disclosed that only 37 percent of the registered NGOs file their reports to the NGO Board, making it difficult for the board to come up with a realistic picture on how much contribution or impact the NGOs are making on the lives of Malawians.

He said the NGO Board has established the Directorate of Economic and Monitoring Services to effectively scrutinise the work of NGOs.

“Over the years the Board relied and believed in the reports being submitted by the NGOs as gospel truth. From now on, the information contained in the reports submitted by NGOs will be verified by visiting their project sites or interacting with their target beneficiaries,” he said.

“We therefore urge NGOs to ensure that the progress being shared with the board is as obtained on the ground. The board has empowered Area Development Committees to assist in monitoring the work of NGOs,” added Chimwala.

In his remarks during the launch of the report, Chilima stated that there have been “too many flagship projects – most of which don’t even fit the title”.

He said this has led to spreading resources so thinly with most of them just initiated and dying a natural death.

“If these resources were prioritised to focus on just a few impactful long-term development projects, the impacts could be felt within a short time in the lives of most Malawians,” said Chilima.

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