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Non-Governmental Organisations cornered on donor funds

Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) that will not comply with operation reporting requirements by June 30 this year risk being scrapped from the database which also gives them leeway to be funded by donors.

NGOs are supposed to feed the Aid Management Platform (AMP) hosted at the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development with technical, financial and other reports in line with good corporate governance, accountability and transparency.

But, according to the NGO Board, while there is tremendous progress on adhering to the requirement, there still are some NGOs which are not reporting on the platform.

The Board’s Chairperson, Abigail Dzimadzi, reiterated in an interview Wednesday that NGOs need to be accountable to Malawians on whose behalf they seek support from donors.

The board organised an NGO Corporate Governance and Aid Management Platform (AMP) Awareness meeting with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) a year after a similar meeting was held.

Dzimadzi said NGOs that will not have met the reporting requirements by the said date will be acted on using the NGO Act with the Ministry of Justice applying relevant provisions so that they can no longer operate in the country.

“Funds raised by any organisation working in Malawi are raised for the people of Malawi. The primary duty bearer for the people of Malawi is government, so it is of interest that those that help government in fulfilling this duty are accountable,” Dzimadzi said.

Some NGOs, particularly those involved in human rights activities, have been complaining that reporting requirements may stifle their operations since advocacy “is difficult to measure”.

But Dzimadzi said every NGO regardless of its sector must be transparent and accountable as long as it does or claims to do its work on behalf of Malawians.

Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Jean Kalilani, who officially closed the meeting, said last year it was discovered that only 10 percent of NGOs operating in the country adhered to the guidelines on reporting on their performance.

She added that others submit reports which contain false information on what they get from donors.

“We are aware of what they receive and when they report, we know that it is nowhere near the truth. But it is important that they account for what they get because it is for the poor Malawians,” Kalilani said.

On concerns on the review of the NGO Act where some stakeholders believe it is aimed at doing away with the Council for Non-Governmental Organisations in Malawi (Congoma), Kalilani said she would be addressing the press soon to clarify on facts which have apparently been misrepresented.

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