By Vincent Bwinga
The Justice and Peace Desk of Karonga Diocese on 17 August, 2018 trained members of Community Actions Groups (CAGs) from Mbande and Lupembe Area Development Committees in Karonga District on Public Expenditure Tracking Survey (PETS).
The CAGs are an important part in the implementation of the Desk’s Citizen Action for Local Government Accountability Project (CALGA) project. The project strives to contribute towards transparency and accountability in the management of local development resources in district councils in Malawi.
The training imparted on the CAGs skills and knowledge on how to track development resources systematically from the source to the beneficiary by looking at the allocation of resources, receipt, utilization and results.
This training comes against the background where there is seeming underdevelopment in most areas of Malawi despite resources being disbursed for the same. Citizens rarely challenge duty bearers, collectively, to account for the resources due to among other things limited access to information on local development resources, and lack of knowledge at community level and poor coordination.
The Justice and Peace also took the CAG members through Local Government Act, Decentralization Policy, public finance and guidelines for development resources. This is so because the CAGs will be the nucleus from which community demand for participation, transparency and accountability in development activities from the district councils will grow.
Speaking after the training, Reverend Msowoya of Lupembe ADC commended the training saying they now have the basis for which to demand transparency and accountability.
“Community structures and citizens are being challenged by the district council because of lack of enough information that can guide them to demand what they want. The knowledge gained here will help us move our communities to actively and collectively track allocation and utilization of local government resources in their areas,” said Msowoya.
Similar activity will be conducted in other the areas of traditional authorities Kilupula and Wasambo in Karonga District and Kameme, Mwenemisuku and Mwabulambia in Chitipa District.
Citizen Action for Local Government Accountability is a three year project funded by Irish Aid through Danish Church Aid.