Malawi NGO board developing digital information management system for civil society

The Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) Board of Malawi–a state owned registrar and regulator of all NGOs and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the country–has embarked on a process of developing a web-based information management system which will consolidate all the information pertaining to NGOs and CSOs so that is easily accessed.

Geoffrey Chimwala, addressing participants
A cross section of participants to the meeting

According to the board, a local ICT company–Idias Corporation Limited–has been contracted to develop the system which will enhance information sharing and interaction between NGOs and other stakeholders.

The board held an engagement meeting with some NGOs and CSOs in the Capital Lilongwe in order to brief them on the system and hear their views.

Speaking in an interview with Nyasa Times soon after the meeting, the Director of Corporate Services for NGO Board of Malawi, Linda Njikho, said the development of the web-based information management system will bring about a number of improvements in the board’s work with NGOs.

“With this initiative, we will go paperless. NGOs are currently submitting hard copies when transacting with us. This system will eliminate the submission of paper documents. This means we are going green as a sector,” said Njikho.

According to the Director of Economic and Monitoring Services for NGO Board of Malawi Geoffrey Chimwala, the web-based information management system will have seven modules.

He disclosed that these modules will include; registration and license renewal, financial records or information, case management, NGO activities, NGO card and NGO reporting.

Chimwala said, for a long time, there has been the challenge of sharing such information in the NGO sector because of lack of a system to enable stakeholders access timely and reliable data in terms of what is happening in the sector.

“For instance, the registration and license renewal module will give NGOs the opportunity to do such processes through the system by simply entering the information where ever they are.

“The same will apply when NGOs are submitting other relevant annual reports to the board. They will need to stop traveling to our headquarters in Lilongwe. We want them to save their resources,” he said.

Chimwala further said, there will also be a module on data inquiry and sharing which will have a dashboard with a map showing the distribution of NGOs per Traditional Authority (TA) across the country.

“By simply the click of a button, one should be able to see all NGOs in a particular TA and district and their activities.

“Such information is vital to stakeholders including development partners and donors. Many times donors enquire about such information but it has been hard to provide it to them timely,” he said.

Participants to the meeting promptly welcomed the initiative which will be completed within the next six months, saying it is the way to go if the NGO Board of Malawi is to enhance its regulatory role over NGOs and CSOs.

Some of the NGOs and stakeholders invited to the meeting included officials from; Council for Non-Governmental Organizations in Malawi (Congoma), Malawi Economic Justice Network, Financial Intelligence Authority, government ministries and departments and several others.

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