Lilongwe District Council with funding from the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace of the Lilongwe Archdiocese has embarked on a training exercise for Area Executive Committees whose members are extension workers from both government and non-governmental organizations.
The trainings are aimed at reviving local government structures which have not been active in the district by orienting the extension workers of their roles and duties in the development process.
Director of Planning and Development at the council, Douglass Moffat told Malawi News Agency (MANA) Tuesday that the committees whose role is to provide advice to Area Development Committees (ADCs) at T/A level have been dormant for some time, a situation which has negatively affected development in the district.
Apart from the extension workers, the trainings were also being attended by Ward Councilors from the district’s wards to orient them on the Local government structures as they too have sometimes been having misunderstandings with ADCs and community members over their roles and duties in the development process, according to Moffat.
He said the AECs who are supposed to work hand in hand with ADCs at TA level by providing technical advice and expertise in formulation of Village Action Plans, among other things have not been conducting monthly meetings as stipulated in the Local Government Act.
We have had conflicts between AECs and ADCs because the membership did not know what is expected of them, we also noticed that people in most areas do not know about the existence of these committees and even their roles hence he trainings, he said.
Among others, the extension workers were being briefed on participatory budgeting which the council has adopted whereby communities in the district are taking part in budgeting and being informed of the cost of development projects in their areas as one way of promoting transparency and accountability.
One of the participants, Emily Mazengera Chipata, an Assistant Community Development Officer in TA Masula’s area described the trainings as important saying not only did they provide an opportunity for the extension workers to be equipped with knowledge but also interact and share experiences.
CCJP Lilongwe Archdiocese Project Officer Mwai Sandram said it is high time Ward Councilors, chiefs, extension workers and community members realized their roles in the development process and start working together as partners in development.
The trainings are being conducted under the Citizen Action in Local Government Accountability Project which CCJP is implementing in Lilongwe and Dowa districts with funding from the Titilitonse Fund and Dan Church Aid aimed at bridging the gap between duty-bearers and the communities while promoting and inspiring citizens to take action against corrupt practices.
Source: Malawi News Agency � MANA