The Southern African Development Community (Sadc) is developing a Non-State Actors engagement mechanism to promote greater accountability and transparency between government institutions and the citizens on regional integration.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Eisenhower Mkaka, said this recently in Lilongwe when he opened a capacity building workshop for community radio stations and members of staff for National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) on Sadc regional integration and Covid-19 pandemic.
Nice Trust organised the workshop with financial support from the European Union (EU) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit.
Mkaka capacity limitations have hindered government’s efforts towards promoting community involvement in the integration dialogue.
Mkaka said his ministry will continue engaging Nice and other organisations in promoting community involvement in Sadc and African Union integration processes.
He further disclosed that the ministry will work on establishing a vibrant Sadc National Committee whose role will be to monitor the implementation of the Sadc agenda at the national level.
“In this regard, communities, through representation of non-state actors, will be part of this important committee,” he said.
The EU Chargé d’Affaires to Malawi, Ivo Hoefkens, said community radio stations have a critical role to play in tackling fake news and disinformation surrounding Covid-19.
Hoefkens said community radios have a unique position in the struggle against the pandemic ‘being from the people to the people’.
“There also a lot of fake news going around to which community radios are a very potent remedy. And of course, the pandemic knows no border, which means that, for this kind of global challenge, there is a need for a regional approach in addition to the national efforts. There is a need to join forces with neighbours,” said Hoefkens.
Nice Executive Director, Ollen Mwalubunju, said the institution organised the training to impart radio producers and Nice officers with knowledge that will, in turn, assist them come up with messages and programme content on Covid-19 and Sadc regional integration.