By Lestina Sanga
The Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) and Danish Church Aid (DCA) are impressed with the Community Action Groups (CAGs), Community Journalists (CJs) and Area Development Committee (ADC) of Ulambiya-Kaseye ADC.
This transpired during the recent monitoring visit, conducted by DCA and ECM, to some of the project sites for the DCA funded Citizen Action in Local Governance Accountability (CALGA) project. The Justice and Peace Desk of the Diocese of Karonga is implementing the project in Karonga and Chitipa districts.
Ulambiya-Kaseye ADC has been hailed as a perfect example for all the ADCs is all the districts where CALGA project is being implemented. George Usiwa, Governance Programme Manager for Justice and Peace National Office, stated that members of this ADC should be taken to national level to showcase their success.
The Ulambia-Kaseye team outlined all efforts they have collectively done in order to enhance transparency and accountability in the allocation and utilization of local development financial resources.
Speaking during the event, Chairperson for CAGs thanked the Justice and Peace Desk for imparting knowledge and empowering communities to be holding their leaders accountable.
The unwillingness of council officials to address community demands is prevalent as such, the CJs from this ADC write stories and coordinate with the professional journalists on crucial and problematic issues of social accountability.
This attracts attention of stakeholders on the problem at national level. The CAGs in collaboration with the ADC have engagement meetings with councilors on the allocation and utilization of District Development Fund (DDF) and MPs on Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
In the spirit of ‘nothing for us without us’ some development projects have been put to a halt by communities demanding inclusion or participation in the allocation and utilization of resources.
Several times the ADC, in collaboration with the CAGs and CJs, drafted petitions to the council several times and when there is no response, petitions are channeled to the ministry. Funds being Tracked at Ulambia-Kaseye, are DDF, Local Development Fund (LDF), Community Managed Social Economic Development Fund (COMSEF), CDF and Malata Cement Subsidy Programe. This is not the case in most areas where the main focus is on DDF and CDF.
In general, the DCA and ECM has been impressed with the coordination among CAGs, ADCs and CJs in Chitipa and Karonga where the project is being implemented by the Justice and Peace Desk of the Diocese of Karonga. The coordination lead to good performance and it is good for sustainability of the project.