One of Malawi’s vocal social-political activists, Ben Chiza Mkandawire, has said he will on Saturday Mkandawire together with Lilongwe City Informal Settlements networks ISN, launch the self-help Social Development Fund (SDF) in the capital city’s squatter township, Ntandire.
Mkandawire told Nyasa Times on Friday that SDF will support development projects at the local level.
According to Mkandawire, the SDF’s general objectives and core mandate is to fight poverty and to empower civil society working within local communities without the support of government and the interference of politicians.
“The aim of the fund is to raise money that will help develop public service infrastructure in economically marginalized communities and stimulate growth in the fast growing social enterprise sector and channel investment and support from private sector companies and individuals into third sector groups who want to develop or expand social enterprise activity,” explained Mkandawire.
He added: “This involves implementing infrastructure projects, providing vocational skills training and upgrading, building capacity and institutional strengthening, and facilitating the construction of a community health center and rehabilitation of water and sanitation systems and social assistance services, in an efficient, responsive and accountable manner.”
Mkandawire noted: “For decades poor and marginalized people living in rural and city slums have been viewed as the target of poverty reduction efforts rather than stakeholders or contributors to the development agenda in their communities.
“Development experts see themselves as the sole owners of development wisdom and having all the answers to the problems which face the poor. Hence their domination rather than facilitating decision making disregarding and undervaluing the local knowledge and capacity of the local communities to effect positive and sustainable development in their locales.”
Mkandawire said self reliance is the only way to achieve economic empowerment and independence in the fight against poverty.
Amongst the activities at the launch, will be a Gule wankulu and traditional dances followed by the rolling out of a developmental action plan.