COMSIP orients Malawi councils on SMS reporting model

Monitoring and Evaluation officers (M&Eos) for district councils from northern and central regions on Monday underwent a one-day orient workshop on short messaging system (SMS) reporting model at Mponela in Dowa district.

Community Savings and Investment Promotion (COMSIP) Cooperative Union Limited organised the training whose aim was to orient the participants on the new reporting model in an effort to enhance timely inflow of data.

Assistant Information Officer for the Union, Witney Kapango said the SMS reporting model enables COMSIP groups and cooperatives compile reports of their activities and send them to their respective district councils in form of text messages using mobile phones.

“We’ve had challenges and delays in terms of how reports would move from the person on the ground through the right channels all the way to the COMSIP central office.

Some of the participants listening to a presentation - Pic by Joseph Josiah
Some of the participants listening to a presentation – Pic by Joseph Josiah

“It is for this reason that a mobile reporting system was devised so as to make life convenient to the persons producing and submitting the reports including those on the receiving end,” explained Kapango.

He said previously COMSIP members in rural areas were required to compile data of various activities they have carried out and send it to the councils as a hard copy making the entire process cumbersome, time consuming and expensive.

Kapango said the SMS model will among others encourage regular monthly reporting by COMSIP groups, help remove lags between event occurrence and reporting, and enhance information dependability.

“We believe that all the data that is in date about the activities of these groups and cooperatives will be timely available, so decision making or interventions will be done smoothly and much better than previously it were,” he said.

One of the participants M&Eo for Likoma District Council, Obed Mwalughali said the new system stands to benefit both district councils as sender of information and central government as receiver.

He said with the system fully operational Community Development Assistants (CDAs) will now be able to feed councils with timely data thereby enabling the councils timely forward the same to the central government for action.

Said Mwalughali: “We’ve had problems feeding the central government with timely information because the CDAs were also taking long to feed councils, but with the mobile phone reporting system there won’t be any delays anymore.”

Established under the Cooperative Societies Act No 36 of 1998 and became operational in January 2007 COMSIP Cooperative Union was born out of the need to serve the community members who are organised into COMSIP groups and cooperatives.

Its mission is to deliver flexible savings and investment products and services in order to economically empower Malawians to improve their livelihoods through member owned savings and investment cooperatives.

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