A US based organization known as World of Difference is doing a commendable job in Malawi but it is not registered with the country’s Non Governmental Organisations (NGO) Board, a development which has sent tongues wagging and prompted the NGO Board to warn that it would “deal with the organization accordingly”.
Organizations operating in Malawi are required to comply with the NGO Act which obligates them to register with the NGO Board–a government agency which regulates the work of NGOs in the country to ensure that they operate in a sanitized environment and are accountable to the state and citizens.
The absence of World of Difference on the website of the NGO Board of Malawi has baffled many stakeholders who are wondering, “Why would a US organization not follow the rule of law, which is one of the fundamental principles of democracy the US Government always promotes”.
NGO Board of Malawi Chief Executive Officer, Voice Mhone, was equally baffled when contacted to comment, saying World of Difference is actually operating illegally and that the board would not hesitate to crack the whip.
“We appreciate what they do to the communities much more that their programs were guided by the district council if that is indeed the case.
“However, they should have registered under the NGO law first before operating. In this regard, we are going to invite them for registration otherwise they will not be allowed to continue operating,” Mhone told Nyasa Times.
When contacted to explain why World of Difference was operating without being registered, the organisation’s Country Director, Eston Mgala, seemed to take the issue lightly, just saying they had to start with setting up an office and mobilizing staff.
“The NGO brings students from USA for a two week expedition every year during which they work with Kamuzu College of Health Sciences and Kamuzu Central Hospital. Within those two weeks they also help orphans and schools.
“In the past years, the NGO had no staff and office in Malawi which made it difficult for the visiting students to operate. We have embarked on registering the organization with relevant authorities and lawyers from the Ministry of Justice are handling that.
“We know the law and all procedures. We are engaging the district commissioners, district education managers and all relevant local authorities and structures when implementing our projects. We also have a board in place,” said Mgala.
Recently, World of Difference handed over a modern three classroom block it constructed at Chimwala 1 Primary School in Lilongwe Nsinja North.
Actually, Member of Parliament for the area, Bintony Kutsaira, who is also Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, presided over the block’s handover ceremony.
The organisation also built a library, staffroom, headteacher’s office and sunk a borehole at the same school.
The situation that World of Difference is in comes at a time when the NGO Board of Malawi is about to embark on a campaign of cleansing the NGO sector of organisations that are not registered and not submitting annual audit and technical reports to the board as required by the NGO Act.
The board is on record having warned that it will, from January next year, stop issuing annual operating licenses to NGOs that are not obeying the law.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :