Millions of UNICEF money unaccounted for

Some districts in Malawi are reportedly failing to account for millions of kwachas from the United Nations Children’s Fund’s (Unicef) meant for enhancement of the plight of Malawian children.

This was revealed in Mzuzu this week by UNICEF officials during an orientation workshop for District Information Officers (DIOs) and District Health Education Officers (DHEOs) from the Northern Region.

The DIOs and DHEOs drawn from the Ministries of Information and Health were being familiarized on the new medicines kit for primary health care (PHC) facilities donated to the Malawi Government by UNICEF and other development partners.

Children help set up a temporary tent classroom in Malawi’s southern Nsanje District. Their school was destroyed by recent flooding that left 1,000 children without classrooms. Photo credit Unicef

The UNICEF officials also expressed concern that most implementers of programmes it financially supports do not or take time to account for the funds given to them after implementing the programmes.

“As of now, some districts have millions of kwachas from UNICEFstill not accounted for and no reasons have been put forward to that effect,” lamented UNICEF Communication for Development Officer (CDO), Chikondi Khangamwa.

The official said failure or delay to liquidate the financial resources creates the suspicion that the resources have not been used for the intended purposes.

“When the funds are not liquidated in time, we believe they have been abused,” said Khangamwa.

The CDO also enlightened the participants that failure to liquidate the funds in time blocks more funding for new or extended programmes which, he observed, cause delay or discontinuation of the programmes in some cases.

And UNICEF’s chief communications officer, Rosemary Wellington, urged those involved in the malpractice to consider the plight of children before enriching themselves.

“Most of our programmes are meant to assist children but some organisations do not take this into consideration as a result, children continue to suffer,” she bemoaned.

Wellington, therefore, advised the DIOs and DHEOs to design programmes that would address the plight of the vulnerable people, especially women and children.

District Information Officers and District Health Education Officers, according to UNICEF, are focal persons at district level regarding passing of information to communities on the importance of accessing health services from their respective health facilities.

In Malawi, UNICEF supports programmes such as community based management of acute malnutrition (CMAM) in all districts in the country, child rights protection, and water, sanitation and hygienepromotion, among other programmes.

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