Action Aid demands prudence in public, donor funds management

An international nongovernmental organization, Action Aid has vowed to empower the country’s citizenry so they were able to hold their duty bearers accountable and also ensure that every project being implemented in the areas of health and agriculture in the country meet the needs of the people.

Chigwenembe: We are looking into service delivery

The Organization’s Social Accountability Project Officer, Wales Chigwenembe said communities should enjoy their right to participate and seek explanation from their duty bearers on the utilization of public resources.

Chigwenembe noted with concern that some projects that were being implemented in the areas of health and agriculture do not meet the needs and aspirations of the common man in the village.

“Our focus is on health and agriculture sectors which get a lion’s share from the national budget as they directly affect lives of people.

“We are looking into service delivery in a drive to ensure that implementation of various projects is done in accordance to the needs of the people. This is crucial if they are to access development projects that meet their needs,” said Chigwenembe.

He further said they were working with the media not just as news outlets but as partners in the Swedish Development Corporation (SDC) Social Accountability project.

“We have trained community radios personnel so they should know the stages of Social Accountability. Nsanje based Nyanthepa and Gaka, are some of the Community radios that have benefitted from the initiative,” explained Chigwenembe.

Chigwenembe said through the community radios, the common people on the ground would have a good platform where they would provide feedback as regards to how public resources were being managed.

“Besides, we expect district council officials to use the same platform to explain development plans and challenges so the citizenry can appreciate and seek explanation on how plans are made and how council budgets are utilized,” said Chigwenembe.

He added government has been allocating billions of money towards health and agriculture programs but the utilization of these sums of money has been a challenge.

“Even NGOs have been provided with huge sums of money from the donor but then the question is, were the funds utilized accordingly? Citizenry have a right to question management of the hard earned tax-payers money.

“Let’s look at the Farm Inputs Subsidy Program (FISP) where 60 percent of the funds are channeled towards administration inputs and not more than 40 percent towards the actual farm inputs?” explained Chigwenembe.

He underscored the need for authorities to strategically plan and allocate resources in accordance to the needs of the people.

The Action Aid Social Accountability Project Officer was however quick to say Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) were no exception saying they also had to be held accountable as they too receive billions of donor money meant for the poor people.

“Almost all the NGOs that are in the country, are implementing projects in Nsanje. The district receives a lot of money but are the lives of people changing?,” wondered Chigwenembe.

One of the presenters at Nyanthepa Jipson Banda who has been participating in the social accountability training hailed Action Aid for providing them with information which he said was an eye opener.

Banda said they would use the skills acquired through the training to pin down duty bearers but also empower communities in their quest to fight misuse of tax payers’ money.

Action Aid is implementing a K428, 716,400.00 10 year project dubbed Strengthening Social Accountability and Oversight Capacity for Rights Based Public Resources and Management in Health and Agriculture.

The Swedish government funded project which started in May 2016 will run up to April 2026.

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