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European Union wants citizen-driven accountability

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The European Union (EU) has called for the active involvement of ordinary Malawians in the process of demanding transparency and accountability from duty-bearers.
Speaking when the EU handed over vehicles and motorcycles to the National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Public Trust in Lilongwe on Thursday, EU Ambassador to Malawi, Marchel Gerrmann, said citizens need more civic education to understand their rights and obligations.
“The empowerment of citizens by Nice, to demand transparency and accountability from duty bearers, is crucial for the promotion of domestic accountability in Malawi,” Gerrmann said.
He said the EU believes that strengthening democratic governance, domestic accountability and access to justice—especially for women, girls and other vulnerable groups such as people with albinism — are crucial for sustainable development initiatives.
Gerrmann said, with a network of 8,000 volunteers and a reach to Malawians in all the districts, Nice could play a role in encouraging citizens to claim and defend their rights.
Nice Trust Board Chairperson, Susan Kaunda, said the vehicles and motorcycles would ease transportation challenges faced when providing civic education services.
“We promise to take good care of the vehicles and motorcycles as we have always done. Let me assure you that the Trust will put the resources given today to good use,” Kaunda said.
National Authorising Office Head of Unit, Nations Msowoya, said the government recognises good governance as a prerequisite for economic growth and development as reflected in Malawi Growth and Development Strategy II.
The donated four vehicles and 11 motorcycles, which are worth K154 million, have been procured with funding from the European Development Fund through a programme called Chilungamo.
In October 2016, the government and EU signed a Financing Agreement for Chilungamo Programme (Justice and Accountability).
The EU has been supporting Nice since its inception 15 years ago.

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