The Malawi ‘COW’ development concept

Over time, communities in Malawi especially smallholder farmers in rural years have remained poor. Statistics shows that poverty levels are increasing in all corners of the country. This is all happening when the country is among the major beneficiaries of external aid, enjoying democratic politics. In this theory, I would like to argue that Communities has been abused by those entrusted with leadership as well as the so called multilateral donors. The concept is grounded on the basis that external disturbance including foreign aid is associated with decline in household wealth.

In the first instance, I take the part C (community) as an integral part to development. They have the eyes for current and future vision, ears to hear and understand what is going on and what they want. Mouth for consuming and taste and finally the little white matter for their normal behaviour.

Then part ‘O’ representing Organisations and/or Institutions. They share the major part of the problems and have significant organs to drive the C for better heights. Finally, the combination of C and O should result in either positive or negative change in wealth or livelihoods- the tail.

However, within my own analysis, part ‘O’ dominated by both politicians, NGOs and other players is failing to understand what is going on in Part ‘C’. It is even worse when the drivers are even riding the sinking ship.

Due to this ignorant, changes in wealth and/or livelihoods are yet to be seen. Despite that several processes are going on in Part ‘O’ the end results has not improved the size of ‘W’ but has resulted in more manure coming out and being littered everywhere. The processes going on in Part ‘O’ are so complex that have either left Part ‘C’ more confused than before. Such processes include influx of NGO activity, lack of monitoring government frameworks, lack of coordination and networking, following foreign ideologies, political prostitution, poor leadership, corruption, foreign migrants, tribalism, regionalism among others.

Majority of those riding the Malawi COW have wrong assumptions that the COW has no vision and need intensive care. They think that ‘W’ will change due to increased political parties, dependency of foreign aid, and crossing political parties among others. The situation is the same even if I replace C (community) with another C (Country-Malawi) and then consider ‘O’ representing donors.There is no single change in W. The story can go on.

The Malawi COW is being cowed and when it dies, we will all die. It is even so pathetic that those in O assume that aid can be a tool to achieve MDGs. To me development is not disturbing community’s or nation’s vision, development is providing conducive environments for decision makers at all level. It is shameful to note that some O tends to spend more on their own agendas than those in need of support.

A friend of mine once told me that any country that has more NGOs and INGOs is at development Intensive Care and will require radical leaders to transform such economies. I seriously suggest that Communities, Malawians, Africa and other development countries have the potential to solve their problems without external intervention.

Finally, horns and hind legs are in many cases used for defence. Next time you shall lose your grip and we shall give you a kick.

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