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Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

NGOs must accept accountability

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The deadline of June 30 which requires NGOs in Malawi to report to the Aid Management Platform as a measure of enhancing good governance and transparency could not have come at a better time.

We have learnt that despite progress on the requirement, some NGOs are not complying arguing that it may stifle their operations and that advocacy “is difficult to measure”.

While those fears may be legitimate, the NGOs must consider the platform, as an opportunity to prove their relevance and attest their significance in their work.

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Most NGOs operate on fat budgets in the name of charity, advocacy, humanitarian aid yet with all these funds, there is no standard benchmark used to evaluate their effectiveness in their diverse fields.

Most of these NGOs are also not subjected to the same budgetary and governance accountability as government or listed companies.

But even in the few instances where such measures are available, donors do not benefit directly from their contribution rather the benefit accrues to the society that these NGOs claim to serve.

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So for some NGOs to argue that compliance will affect their advocacy work smacks of hypocrisy as it clearly implies that they are not ready to be subjected to the very same measures which they use to hold government and policy makers to account.

Already, we have very few legal and regulatory frameworks which are used to hold NGOs to account and oftentimes their work is not a scrutinised, except by the donors that inject funds into their work. But, in a society where cutting corners is fast becoming a norm, accountability parameters anchored by workable legal frameworks are obligatory.

With our NGOs, there is an accountability deficit that only platforms like AMP can address, further providing assurance to Malawians that funds received in their name are put to good use.

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