By Lestina Sanga*
Dan Church AID representatives and partners have commended the Community Action Groups (CAGs) and the Community Journalists (CJs) from T/A Kyungu in Karonga District for their efforts in promoting transparency and accountability in management of public funds in local councils, under the Citizen Action in Local Governance Accountability (CALGA).
Speaking during partners Joint Monitoring Visit at Mwenilondo, on 25 September 2019, Chisomo Zileni, Head of Programmes at ADC highlighted the introduction of CAGs and CJs in the CALGA project is increasing community’s enthusiasm to hold duty bearers to account.
He commended the coordination CJs and CAGs have brought among councilors, traditional leaders, local government structures and other stakeholders.
He further observed that these structures are full of life; a pointer towards sustainability of the project. He expressed the need for documenting the progress of the project to profile the cases from Karonga for learning purposes.
She further urged the CAGs and CJs to be involving the media when the duty bearers are not committed to meeting the community to account for their actions or omissions.
During the meeting CAGs and CJs presented the cases of development projects which remain unfinished years after the contractors were pain in full by the local assembly. They reported that they have been holding interface meetings and making follow ups at the district council to ensure that contractors are taken to task. The projects in question are Mlare Market Shelter and Wiliro Police Unit under the District Development Fund.
CAGs and CJs also demonstrated that capacity gained from the project has helped bridge information gap between the community, District councils and MPs . They said this has helped in reducing politicization of Constituency Development Fund.
CJs investigate stories around local development projects and produce reports based on their findings. They also work hand in hand with professional journalists, who play a mentorship role. Their stories are published on www.karonga/chitipacjs.wordpress.com and aired on Tuntufye FM Radio.
DCA organized the joint monitoring visits to allow partners learn from each other’s implementation strategies; appreciate changes in rights holders’ lives by understanding how changes are documented and to agree on actionable work plan to strengthen synergy.
In Karonga, it was attended by the following DCA partners; Malawi Human Rights Resource Centre (MHRRC), Youth and Society (YAS), SPRODETTA, CADECOM Mzuzu Diocese, Livingstonia Synod Health Department, WORLEC, CCJP Lilongwe and Evangelical Association of Malawi.
The Justice and Peace Desk of the Diocese of Karonga is implementing CALGA project to contribute towards transparency and accountability in management of local development resources in district councils with funding from Irish Aid through DCA.
*Justice and Peace Intern