Instead of looking at the challenges faced by the people of Malawi, and how it affects social and economic/socio-economic development, we work with Non-State Actors that facilitate change at local level and sustain the results all over the country.

Open Call - Funded Projects

Grant Partner: Malawi Local Government Organisation (MALGA)

Title: Strengthening the Capacity of Councilors and Local Councils for improved Service Delivery

Implementation Period: 13 Months

Location: Dowa and Ntchisi

Total budget:   74,864

Situation Analysis

Since the dawn of multi-party democracy in 1993, Malawi has undertaken a series of legal, policy and public institutional reforms. One such reform is the adoption of the Decentralization Policy and the establishment of a Local Government System as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi. The process of decentralisation has experienced considerable setbacks which have constrained the performance and influence of local councils to emerge as responsive and accountable service providers. For nine (9) years (2005 – 2014) there were no Councillors to champion development initiatives.

The May 2014 tripartite elections brought back Councillors who were expected to play a leading role in matters of local governance and development. However, despite the coming in of Councillors, local councils continue to face challenges. There is limited functionality of the local government institutions and structures such as councils, Council Service Committees, Village Development Committees and Area Development Committees. Role demarcation among local level actors is still unclear. The roles of Councillors, Members of Parliament and Traditional leaders (Chiefs) are not clearly defined, particularly in the area of local development. Each of them claim they are mandated to bring local projects to local communities. Another problem is that Council members do not have adequate knowledge and skills to conduct council business. Council Secretariat staff has limited knowledge on how to support Councillors and Council Service Committees. All these challenges are affecting the effective functioning of local councils and undermining their ability to deliver on their mandates.


Project Preview

The Project whose main goal is to contribute to the acceleration of good governance at local level for improved service delivery will review Councillors’ manual, handbook and other tools and after the tripartite elections it will conduct a comprehensive assessment on the councillors’ skills/performance after which a training will be conducted to address the skills gap. A training will also be conducted to District assembly staff on support to councillors.

Grant Partner: Council for Non-Governmental Organisations in Malawi (CONGOMA)

Title: Civic participation in public procurement for better public resource allocation – (CPPP-BPRA) project

Implementation Period: 13 Months

Location: National

Total budget: 91,680

Problem Analysis

Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets was established to regulate the law on Public Procurement to ensure transparency, accountability and value for money and maximize the potential for Public Procurement to support sustainable development.  According to OXFAM in 2015 some of the drivers of poverty in Malawi are weak provision and access to public services in health and education, ineffective implementation of gender sensitive policies, corruption and embezzlement of public funds and weak delivery of social protection programs like cash transfers and subsidies among others. Corruption and embezzlement of public funds still persists despite the existence of policies, laws and Authorities to regulate public procurement.

Project Preview

The project will lobby for CSOs to be involved in Public Procurement through advocacy session with PPDA Board, Cabinet, Law Commission and Parliament, if successful there will be need to amend the Public Procurement Act.  The project will also train Civil Society in Procurement integrity monitoring in Districts and at National level. A toll free line will be established for whistle blowing on corrupt practices. Dialogue interface meetings will be convened between citizens and duty bearers.

Grant Partner:Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace – Lilongwe Archdiocese


Project Title: Promotion of Restorative Justice through Adult diversion

Implementation Period: 13 Months

Location: Kasungu and Nkhota kota

Traditional Authorities:

Total budget: 93,147 Euros


Problem Analysis

There is a general expectation that offenders should always have a custodial sentence. This coupled with the limited structural and human resources in Malawi have culminated into a heavy case backlog in Malawian courts.  As a consequence, there has been delayed justice for remanded offenders with prisons have mostly been congested, household economic status when the offender, if a major bread winner, which has negative ripple effects for the communities in the end. CCJP Lilongwe has been implementing the ‘Adult Diversion Project’ with funds from OSISA. The project aimed to ease congestion in remand prisons, reduce case backlogs with regard to remand detainees, and facilitate quicker restorative justice by diverting petty cases out of the formal criminal justice system. The project aimed to first assess feasibility of the adult diversion program by providing evidence for a possible roll out by the state.

 Nkhotakota Prison built in 1933 has the capacity of holding 250 inmates, but currently holds more than 390 inmates (of which 20% are on remand with petty cases), whereas Kasungu Prison has the capacity to hold 200 inmates but on average holds about 416 inmates (of which 35% are on remand with petty cases). This is happening despite the availability of legal provision that allows for alternative dispute resolution.

Project Preview

This project proposes to ease congestion in prisons and police cells and reduce caseloads burdens at courts by having suspects with minor cases diverted from the formal justice system to the informal justice system at different levels of the criminal justice, such as:

  • Recommend for the attention of the informal justice system on minor cases as deemed fit by the responsible Police Officer before effecting an arrest
  • Recommend for the attention of the informal justice system on minor cases as deemed fit by responsible Police Officer to the Authorities before a file is passed to Prosecution Department before drawing a charge sheet and/or for court proceedings
  • Identify suspects in remand prisons for diversion
  • Conduct camp courts at Prisons

Grant Partner: Foundation for community and Capacity Development – FOCCAD


Project Title: Tilondole – building the capacity of sex workers, women living with HIV and teen mothers, to demand for quality cervical cancer interventions.

Implementation Period: 13 Months

Location: Nkhotakota and Salima Districts

Traditional Authorities:

Total budget: 65,394 Euros

Problem Analysis

Cervical cancer is a public health problem in Malawi. It is the most common and the leading cause of cancer deaths among women. Cervical cancer represents 40% of all cancer among females and Malawi has the highest age standardized incidence rate at 75.9 per 100 000 in the world. (National Cervical Cancer Control Strategy 2016-2020). Nkhotakota and Salima lakeshore districts have over 6500 sex workers and 16000 women living with HIV and the prevalence of cervical cancer is high. While Malawi recognizes cervical cancer as an Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights issue, there are limited facilities offering screening services. Out of twenty-one Health facilities in Nkhotakota, only one is providing cervical cancer screening while in Salima only four are providing the screening services. Sex workers, women living with HIV and teen mothers are key groups at risk of cervical cancer infection.

Project preview

The project will build the capacity of women living with HIV, teen mothers, sex workers and other community structures to lead in service delivery monitoring, budget tracking and to demand accountability and responsiveness of duty bearers. The project will also engage the media, Nkhotakota and Salima community Radio in disseminating rights messages calling for action. The project will also create a safe place for right holders to engage with the duty bearers.

Grant Partner:  NICE TRUST

Project Title: Strengthening local governance for improved service delivery through civic innovation and crowd sourcing

Implementation Period: 13 Months

Location: Karonga, Mzuzu, Kasungu, Lilongwe, Thyolo, Machinga and Blantyre

Traditional Authorities:

Total budget: 89,139

 Problem Analysis

NICE Trust is concerned with continued poor service delivery in the district councils despite government allocating a lot of resources through various development funding mechanisms such as National Budget Allocations, District Development Fund (DDF), Local Development Fund (LDF), Constituency Development Fund (CDF), among others. Poor service delivery is contributing to increasing poverty levels in Malawi. For instance, evidence shows Malawi has performed poorly on most of human development indicators such as education and life expectancy, pushing its ranking to 173th out of 188 countries on the Human Development index (HDI). Effective provision of basic services contributes to state legitimacy and is vital for poverty reduction. The little available services are often of poor quality and not congruent to the needs of the beneficiaries. The poor service delivery can be attributed to a number of fundamental governance issues: such as high levels of corruption in district councils; weak oversight mechanisms and institutions for transparency and accountability; and limited citizenry engagement in participatory monitoring among others. As a result of these challenges, service delivery in the local councils continue to deteriorate especially in critical sectors such as; health, education, water, agriculture and infrastructure among others.


Project Preview

To address the issues, the project will use 360 Civic educator approach in order to improve Citizenry Participation and monitoring. The project will also use non-confrontational and conciliatory approach engage with LGAs in implementation of identified service delivery reform areas as identified by the Ministry of Local Government for district councils; strengthening Internal Integrity Committees in targeted district Councils

Grant Partner: SAT Trust

Project Title: Governance for Health Investment Project (GHIP) in Malawi

Implementation Period: 13 Months

Areas of Implementation:  Rumphi, Mchinji and Machinga

Traditional Authority:

Total budget: 99,595 Euros

Problem Analysis

The main problem to be addressed is limited access by Adolescents and Young Adults (AYA) to sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) services in the impact areas. This core problem has a gender aspect. The gender problem is compounded by the fact that women in Malawi are culturally believed to belong to the kitchen and seen as instruments for child bearing and not equals to men in terms of decision making thus their voice is mostly not heard or taken into consideration. Thus the project will empower adolescent girls and young women to demand their sexual and reproductive health and rights services from duty bearers, thereby increasing access to health services in line with the Tilitonse Theory of Change (TOC) that promotes accountability, responsiveness and inclusiveness as principles for sustainable governance for development results.

Project Preview

The Project will use community mobilisation and sensitization, interface sessions with duty bearers, tracking of development results, policy dialogue, capacity development support on good governance, and learning and knowledge management the project will increase knowledge on how to hold duty bearers accountable in the provision of SRHR, HIV/ AIDS and gender services amongst adolescent girls, and young women. The project will also increase engagement of adolescent girls and young women living with HIV and AIDS with duty bearers in tracking development results and increased knowledge on how to access justice on sexual abuse and gender based violence amongst the adolescent girls and young women.

Grant Partner: Development Communication Trust

Title: Influencing health Governance through citizen participation against drug pilferage

Implementation Period: 13 Months

Location: Mangochi, Ntchisi and Mchinji

Traditional Authorities:Mangochi:Chimwala, Chowe, Katuli, Namavi and Nankumba

                                        Mchinji: Dambe, Mlonyeni, Mkanda, Mavwere and Simphasi

                                        Ntchisi: Nthondo,Chiloko, Kalumo, Chikho and Kasakula

Total budget: 89,418 Euros

Situation Analysis

A study in 2015 on Health Sector Efficiency in Malawi conducted by Carlson revealed that Malawi loses close to 30% of the national drug budget to drug pilferage. Lack of supervision of health workers at both facility and community level, is among the contributing factors of drug pilferage. Ideally, the District Health Offices (DHOs) are required to conduct quarterly Integrated Support Supervisions (ISS) to district hospitals and lower level facilities. At community level, supervision of HSAs is done by Senior HSAs. Guidelines recommend monthly supervision of HSAs, but an assessment from 2015 revealed that on average, Senior HSAs only conducted three supervisions of the expected twelve across the districts. In addition to the Senior HSAs not conducting the required number of supervisory visits, most of them indicated that they have not been trained in supervision and the specific areas that needed to be checked during the monthly supervisory visits. In the absence of supervision work both at facility and community levels, health workers have taken advantage of the gap to steal drugs and other medical supplies which has created frequent drug stock outs in the community health service delivery system.

Malawi has recently introduced many guidelines and policies, to shape community health service delivery, including guidelines on task shifting to HSAs, and community participation. Information on existence of the guidelines and its use has not trickled down to most of the intended users and because of this, the guidelines are mostly not utilised. Dissemination of information on the existence of the guidelines and equipping Health Workers and the other stakeholders with the necessary skills to monitor the HSAs, would assist in saving the drug losses the country faces.

Project Preview

Development Communication Trust will implement the project in Mangochi,  Ntcheu and Ntchisi District with Funding form Tilitonse Foundation after implementing a similar project in selected TAs in Karonga, Ntcheu and Mangochi. The project will be implemented through Capacity Building of community leaders and citizens (Radio Listening clubs) on their role in the Health Service delivery. Training will also be conducted to equip Health Workers (Senior HSAs), ADCs and other community structures on their roles and responsibilities in the Health service delivery. To ensure that citizens and all stakeholders in the Health service delivery are aware on the existence of the guidelines, the project will source guidelines and conduct awareness meetings in the communities. A mobile phone facility for reporting drug and medical supplies pilferage will be introduced.

Grant Partner: Civil Society Organisation Nutrition Alliance CSONA

Title: Enhancing CSOs and Citizens’ Participation in Promoting Nutrition Governance

Implementation Period: 13 Months

Location: National and Ntcheu, Nkhotakota

Total budget:  99,885 Euros

Problem Analysis

Malawi has a high prevalence of malnutrition. Some of the reasons why malnutrition prevalence is high in Malawi are: weak governance structures and systems in the nutrition sector resulting from limited prioritisation by government, and limited understanding among citizens of a human rights based approach to health and nutrition and mechanisms to demand these rights. Despite recent data that show nutrition is beyond a health issue, awareness of these developments among the citizens is very minimal. As such communities do not perceive adequate nutrition as a fundamental human right that they can demand to be fulfilled from respective duty bearers. Government on the other hand capitalises on this lack of awareness of communities and fails to honour its nutrition commitments such as the nutrition for growth commitments where Malawi government pledged to accelerate budgetary support to nutrition. Studies have indicated that there is limited domestic resource allocation for nutrition programs and services both at national and district level.

This project will ensure that all actors have the necessary information to deliver on good nutrition governance, build nutrition awareness among the communities to enable them demand nutrition as a right and work with service providers at all levels to understand their respective responsibilities so that they can deliver effectively their mandate on nutrition.

Project Preview

The project will among others train District Nutrition Coordinating Committees in advocacy and rights based approach to nutrition and develop a training manual in advocacy and rights based approach. District CSO quarterly meetings will be conducted to share information on nutrition interventions. To ensure that the information reaches the citizens, four community based nutrition awareness meetings will be conducted with Area Development Committees, village development Committees and Area Nutrition Coordinating Committees. At National Level One National Nutrition Dialogue will be conducted.

To increase budget allocation in Nutrition, the project will conduct training in budget analysis and conduct one budget analysis workshop whose results will be disseminated. At District level, lobbying meetings will be conducted to lobby for prioritization of Nutrition in District Implementation pla

Grant Partner: Find your Feet and Lead Applicant Church & Society Programme (CSP), Livingstonia (Co- applicant

Project Title:  Promoting participatory and inclusive development in Likoma and Rumphi distrits

Implementation Period: 13 Months

Location: Likoma and Rumphi

Traditional Authorities:

Total budget: 99,293 Euros

Problem Analysis

Malawi in 1995 rolled out the public sector management reform that included privatization and decentralization, among others. Malawi also enacted and passed a number of legal and policy framework that effectively devolve power to people and promise economic growth and stability. Some of these key legal and policy frameworks include: revised Republican Constitution (1995), Decentralization Policy (1998), Local Government Act (1998), Corrupt Practices Act (2000), The Public Finance Management Act (2003), The Public Audit Act (2003), the Procurement Act (2003) and Declaration of Assets, Liabilities and business interest act (2013). With these frameworks in place, Malawians expected greater active and meaningful participation and civil society activity, increased transparency and accountability, quality delivery of quality public services, and more importantly, a more responsive government to the needs of the most marginalized / vulnerable population. Sadly, and contrary to these expectations, the current local governance systems are still dysfunctional with porous accountability systems and processes, resulting into only a few elites and politically connected individuals benefitting from them. For example, the December 2015 Tilitonse Political Economy analysis report unearthed abuse of public funds by District Councils and politicization of intra district allocation of development resources. This has negatively affected quality public service delivery among rural communities such as those in TAs Mkumpha III and Kachulu in Likoma and Rumphi Districts respectively. This proposal has, therefore, identified four main problems that it intends to address: abuse of public resources due to vested interests by public servants and politicization of development by elected political leaders

Low knowledge levels on local governance systems and processes among community members including the roles and responsibilities, Passive leadership and citizenry that fail to mobilize and engage their District councils and Inadequate capacity of communities to trace public expenditure

Project Preview

 Find your feet through the project will, contribute to improved and sustained quality public service delivery in Likoma and Rumphi Districts.

The project will also empower local structures to actively and meaningfully monitor and track public locally generated and development resources at local government level in the target districts by 2020 through Capacity building of Key criminal justice personnel, Conducting adult diversion programs and community awareness meetings.

Grant Partner: CEPA-Centre for Environmental Policy and Advocacy

Project Title: Promoting Responsible and Accountable Extractive Industries Governance

Implementation Period: 13 Months

Location: Lilongwe

Total budget:  95,836

Problem Analysis

There are a number of challenges in the mining sector that are limiting the potential of this sector both at national and local levels. At national level it is the delay of enactment of the revised Mines and Minerals Act which makes the Department of Mines still un decentralized. At local level the sector is seen to be unresponsive to the needs and interests of the communities who get affected by the mining development processes. Community consultations by government and investors before mining operations start are mostly not conducted which leads to improper land acquisition and compensation. The absence of Department of Mines Personnel at District level worsens the problems. No information or little information goes to the communities on the planned projects, consequently it makes it difficult for communities to monitor the investors if they are complying with the regulations.

 In Malingunde Lilongwe District, Sovereign Metals Services Limited is proposing development of an open graphite mine north of Kamuzu Dam on customary land. The project aims at addressing some of the issues outlined.

Project Preview

The project will mobilise communities for effective engagement and training and information materials on mining development processes will be developed.  Communities will be sensitised on the new Land Acquisition Act and assessments will be conducted to assess compliance with the new Act in the acquisition of land in the project site. Dialogue sessions will be conducted between communities, companies and government and the Project will also lobby for the speedy enactment of the revised Mines and Minerals Bill.

Grant Partner: Nkhadze Alive Youth Organization (NAYORG)

Title: Improving Accountability and Transparency in Revenue Mobilisation and Management in Balaka District Council

Implementation Period: 13 Months

Location: Balaka District,

Traditional Authorities: Nkaya,Kalembo, Matola, Kachenga and Chanthunya

Total budget: MK 82, 998, 901. 43. (99,565 Euros)

Situation Analysis

The Local Government Act of 1998 provides the operational framework for district councils to assume a greater devolution of political, financial and administrative powers. It outlines procedures, functions and expenditure responsibilities for the district councils. It provides district councils with mandates to mobilise and manage revenues to fund their operations. District councils have been given three main revenue sources namely: locally generated revenues (which includes property rates, ground rent, fees, licenses, commercial undertakings and service charges), central government transfers through intergovernmental fiscal transfer system and ceded revenue (non-tax revenue) to facilitate execution of district implementation plans.

Balaka District mostly relies on Central government transfers for its operations which is not enough to implement its activities let alone pay staff.  In 2017/2018 Fiscal year, locally generated revenue was only 9% of Central government transfers. This is less than the potential amount of revenue that can be collected. The money collected by Balaka District council is very low because it is regarded as a secondary csource of funds by the district council which makes the responsible officers not to take local resource mobilisation seriously. Another reason why locally generated revenue is low is lack of external oversight on the management of the funds. Despite having councillors who should be playing an oversight role, most of them do not have the required skills and they do not get enough support from the council staff. This project seeks to address these issues so that Balaka District Council improves the percentage of locally generated revenue.


Project Preview

The project will address the issues by using participatory approach. Advocacy and interface meetings will be conducted. Market subcommitees will be Trained on their roles in revenue collection, District finance committee and market Clerks will be trained on finance management and revenue collection mechanisms. Revamping and strengthening revenue collection will be done by analyzing power relations among different players in the revenue collection system, revenue collection guidelines will be translated and distributed to ensure that community members understand them. Social accountability trainings will be conducted to enable community members to organise own advocacy meetings with stakeholders. Involvement of youth monitors, Area Development Committees and Village Development Committees, chiefs and civil society in revenue collection system will strengthen the revenue collection, utilization and management of the locally generated funds.

Thematic Call - Funded Projects

Grant Partner: Find Your Feet (FYF) in collaboration with Church and Society (Livingstonia Synod) and Voice of Livingstonia

Project Goal: To contribute to improved urban governance through active citizenship, stakeholder engagement and duty bearer’s responsiveness in Mzuzu city

Addressed Result Areas: Local Governance, Active Citizenship, Rule of Law

Impact Area: Mzuzu City

Grant Partner: Nation Publications Limited

Project Goal: Building and Strengthening Kauma Community Structures to Promote Active Citizenship in Urban Governance

Addressed Result Areas: Local Governance, Active Citizenship, Gender and Social Inclusion

Impact Area: Lilongwe City

Grant Partner: Oxfam Malawi in collaboration with CCJP Lilongwe Arch Diocese

Project Goal: To contribute to more inclusive, transparent and accountable democratic processes for urban governance in Malawi, through harmonisation and institutionalisation of policy and systems that reflect the needs of and are responsive to an active citizenry

Addressed Result Areas: Local Governance, Active Citizenship, Gender and Social Inclusion

Impact Area: Lilongwe City Council, Kasungu Municipality

Grant Partner: Civil Society Organizations Nutrition Alliance (CSONA) in collaboration with Bwalo Initiative

Project Goal: An inclusive Zomba City Council Governance and Management System that is responsive to the felt needs of its residents

Addressed Result Areas: Local Governance, Active Citizenship

Impact Area: Zomba City

Grant Partner: Malawi Local Government Association (MALGA)

Project Goal: To strengthen Urban Development Planning System and Associated Guidelines

Addressed Result Areas: Local Governance, Active Citizenship

Impact Area: National