The Irish Embassy in Malawi has called for stronger collaboration among civil society organizations (CSOs), development partners and the government in the implementation of social protection programmes.
The Embassy’s Social Protection Advisor Phina Rocha stated that governments and development partners alone cannot effectively monitor interventions being implemented in social protection due to time limitations among other factors; hence, the need for collaboration.
Rocha made the sentiments in Lilongwe on Thursday when she opened a day-long Civil Society Social Protection National Conference, which Outreach Scout Foundation (OSF) organized in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO).
She observed that in countries where civil society is strong, governments have implemented programs that benefit the masses.
“Civil society organizations are an important source of information for both citizens and government as such you can engage in effective advocacy. This is important when one considers that the government cannot advocate to itself nor the citizens to themselves. The civil society can promote better interventions like social protection programs which have huge impact at household, community and national level. This is important and we are expecting you to do this in this country,” she said.
The Social Protection Advisor further noted that CSOs are critical in monitoring programs, projects, interventions being implemented by the government and development partners thereby giving the citizenry and the implementers an opportunity to know the impact or lack of it of their interventions.
However, Rocha disclosed that as one of the leading donors in the social protection sector in Malawi, the Irish Embassy is aware that CSOs are facing a number of challenges that are affecting their performance.
She cited limited financing as one of the challenges that limit their capacity.
“With a lot of civil society organizations, it has been tough to get substantial funding to carry out important activities in social protection. Internal competition, which affects teamwork. Unless the civil society organizations in social protection work as a team with a common voice, the impact will be limited. As development partners we are happy that on your own you have decided to start working as a team through a network,” she said.
In her remarks, ILO Technical Officer Patience Matandika commended the Malawi Government for committing to supporting social protection programmes from the national level.
Matandika said President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera’s commitment to social protection programmes at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Summit recently shows Malawi’s commitment to achieving a wealthy and self-reliant nation as outlined in Malawi 2063.
“This commitment will necessitate development of comprehensive social protection systems that address risks across different stages of life. Linkages between social protection and employment creation programmes will need to be promoted to enhance the impact of social protection systems that will effectively contribute to employment creation as well as economic and social development,” she said.
OSF Board Member Shenard Mazengera said his organization is committed to working with the government in promoting transparency and accountability in the social protection sector.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :