* Not to scramble for visibility by concentrating their operations in a few easy-to-reach camps
* At the expense of other remote communities which receive little support
By Duncan Mlanjira
In line with President Lazarus Chakwera’s Tigwirane Manja campaign in the wake of the disaster from the effects of Cyclone Freddy, Malawi’s non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the civil society (CSOs) have been asked to avoid competition behaviours and scrambling for visibility by concentrating their operations in a few easy-to-reach camps at the expense of other remote communities which receive little support.
This was said in a joint statement at the official launch of a partnership of the NGOs and CSOs — under Council for Non-Governmental Organisation (CONGOMA) — which is to rally behind President Lazarus Chakwera’s support of rescue operations and rebuilding programmes for survivors of Tigwirane Manja campaign.
The official launch of the partnership was held at a survivors camp at Chisombezi Primary School in Bangwe Township where the NGOs and CSOs — under CONGOMA and led by presidential advisor on NGOs, Martha Kwataine — donated dignity packs to the survivors.
Kwataine delivered a joint statement, saying Chakwera has suspended other official duties by camping in the Southern Region where the disaster has taken its tool.
“On almost a daily basis since Freddy hit Malawi, the State President has moved from one district to another, one village to another, and the President has walked on foot visiting communities cut off from all forms of Transport communication.”
The statement also highlighted that former Presidents, Bakili Muluzi, Peter Mutharika and Joyce Banda are playing their significant role of visiting, consoling and distributing relief items in selected communities hit by the cyclone.
“The leaders have set aside political differences and have United around the need to rescue communities devastated by Freddy.
“The message that President Chakwera and the former Presidents are carrying is one of hope while they deliver food, water, blankets, clothes and other material needs to the devastated communities,” said the statement.
The NGOs and the CSOs are being called upon to reprogram their activities and direct their efforts towards restoring some faith — and where possible to include their financing and budgets in their reprogramming “so that resources can be freed to maximize impact in the cyclone-hit communities”.
They are also asked to “demonstrate stronger coordination and collaboration in the implementation of interventions” which includes mobilization and delivery of relief packages.
“It also includes the need for greater coordination in decisions sorrounding choices of geographical locations where the NGOs deliver relief items and conduct rescue operations.
“Specifically, NGOs are being reminded on the need to avoid competition behaviours and scrambling for visibility — thereby concentrating their operations in a few easy-to-reach camps at the expense of other remote communities which receive little support.
“Some NGOs have the tendency to implement their interventions in an isolated manner without collaborating with other actors such as the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA).
“In this vein, we remind CSOs and NGOs of the need to coordinate their efforts with relevant government departments such as DoDMA, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Water & Sanitation as well as local councils — this is the central tenet of Tigwirane Manja.”
The CSOs and NGOs are thus asked “to practice accountability and implement their disaster relief activities in a transparent manner and ensure that corruption does not meddle with the resource management systems”.
“NGOs need to work with the highest standards of integrity and ensure ethical conduct at all stages of the work in the relief efforts. This responsibility includes fostering accountability among the state and non-state actors delivering relief and conducting rescue operations so that every Tambala must count and must contribute towards alleviating the suffering of the thousands of people affected by Cyclone Freddy.”
Kwataine was also accompanied by former presidential advisors on NGOs namely Mabvuto Bamusi for President Mutharika and Rev. MacDonald Sembereka for Joyce Banda, Catholic Church’s Monsignor Boniface Tamani as well as CONGOMA chairperson, Mandinda Zungu of Catholic Development Commission in Malawi (CADECOM).
Monsignor Tamani offered a sermon for the survivors of spiritual hope and quoting the Bible that God reached out to and rescued His people who were suffering in Egypt through Moses, saying that what the Almighty is doing to alleviate survivors’ suffering through the public’s intervention.
The survivors were comforted that they shall be properly assisted to rebuild their lives and meanwhile more relief items shall come their way all in good time.