NGOs asked to engage governance structures in development planning

CHIKWAWA, Development Initiative Network (DIN) Malawi has stressed the need for civil society organizations and development partners to consider engaging local governance structures in development planning to ensure sustainability.

DIN Malawi Executive Director, Anderson Billiat observed that failure by most non � governmental organizations (NGOs) to consult local communities and conduct a needs assessment before implementation of activities has a bearing on the sustainability of initiatives.

Billiat made the remarks on Monday during a Christmas luncheon DIN organised for about 350 vulnerable people drawn from three Traditional Authorities of Katunga, Mulilima and Maseya at Chikwawa Secondary School in the district.

DIN is as a local NGO does everything in the best interest of the people it serves. We always do proper research; we consult responsible officers in government as well as the local leaders for proper planning and implementation of our programs, Billiat said.

The biggest challenge is that most NGOs when coming into the district, they do not approach these structures. Most often they will come with already planned activities, chosen areas which leads to duplication of efforts � this in the process fails uplift living standards of people, Billiat added.

On the Christmas get-together DIN organized with the less privileged communities in the district, Billiat said the objective of the luncheon was to celebrate Christmas with the elderly, orphans and those living with HIV and Aids.

We have observed that many people don’t celebrate Christmas in the district because they cannot afford it. So, we invited these people so that we can celebrate the Birth of Jesus together � make them open up and create a forum where they can share challenges and experiences from their respective homes, he said.

Billiat boasted that DIN has so far contributed positively to some areas within its reach, citing construction of a pre-school at Lauji under T/A Katunga, irrigation projects under T/A Maseya and Tiasamale (HIV Project) under T/A Mulilima through Village Savings and Loans as well as distribution of bicycles to beneficiary groups have been promoted.

On his part, Group Village Headman Odilo who was the guest of honour, thanked DIN Malawi for organizing the lunch with the less privileged group in society, noting that it was one of the special and historic event.

Odilo appealed to the NGO to continue working towards improving people’s living standards in its targeted areas and also encouraged his subjects to take an active role in supporting organizations working in their respective areas to achieve meaningful development.

Riana Damiano, Vice Chair for Chikwawa Support Groups Network commended DIN Malawi for the gesture at Christmas. He, therefore, asked people to stop living in denial by accepting their HIV status.

Source: Malawi News Agency MANA