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NGO Board urged to be aggressive

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Some district executive committee (Dec) members in Nkhotakota have expressed reservations over how non-governmental organisations (NGO) Board conducts its roles of registering and regulating NGOs in the country.

Speaking on Monday when NGO Board Chairperson, Emily Banda, addressed Dec members where she sensitised them on the NGO Act and the areas her organisation regulates, the Dec members wondered why the Board fails to investigate organisations that are partisan and serve personal interests.

“The Board needs to be active and not passive in its operations by [investigating] reports about some NGOs that are not doing their duties properly,” observed Nkhotakota District Health Officer Sosten Lankhulani.

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Commenting on the issue, another member said the Board should be instituting investigations into NGOs that are exposed in the media.

In her remarks, Banda said the Board, which started its operations in 2002, has never deregistered any NGO despite growing concerns on the conduct of some organisations.

She said the Board only acts on submissions and not rumours.

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“If people find out that an NGO is partisan, politicking or functioning contrary to the needs of Malawians, the simplest thing is to put it in writing and inform the Board about it and, according to one of our mandates, we can conduct a research and, based on findings and evidence, we can take action,” Banda said.

She also said the Board decided to engage the Dec officials so that the public should know about the Board’s existence and responsibilities.

“NGOs exist for public interest so we want the people to know about the NGO Act and the existence of NGO Board so that people can understand our roles and responsibilities. We are not on a witch-hunting exercise but we just want people to know what belongs to them so that they can demand that.

“Many times NGOs demand transparency and accountability from government and the public but nobody demands transparency and accountability from them so what we are telling the public is that the NGOs are supposed to be transparent and accountable to the public and donors,” Banda said.

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