Minister Mtambo wants Nice Trust to help in corruption fight and tax justice

Malawi government says it intends to engage the National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) as a strategic force in implementing transformative civic education interventions around these thematic issues such governance; development; climate change; tax justice; peace and national unity; and anti-corruption initiatives.

Mtambo: There has been a wrong impression that NICE is relevant only during election period.
Mwalubunju: NICE empowers the citizenry through the use of many practical strategies–Photos by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times
Co-chairperson of the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19, Dr. John Phuka, also made a presentation at the launch–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times

The Minister of Civic Education and National Unity, Timothy Mtambo, said this will help clear a misconception and impression Malawians have always held that NICE NICE is relevant only during election period.

Mtambo made the remarks at the launch of the Students, Parents and Teachers Engagement Campaign on Covid-19 at the Bingu International Convention Centre in Lilongwe on Tuesday.

“I can point it out here that prior to this new administration, NICE has not only been underutilized, but has also been sidelined. There has been a wrong impression that NICE is relevant only during election period. As such, a useful resource that it is, NICE has been untapped,” he said.

NICE has about nine thousand volunteers on the ground and Mtambo believes this huge human resource can play a key role in the transformation of this country through transformative civic education.

He said the government would want to see the volunteers teaming up with District Health Promotion officers and District Information Officers across the country in disseminating prevention information and messages to students, parents and teachers.

“I strongly believe that the campaign will make a significant contribution to the fight against the pandemic. As you all know, the decision, by Government, to open schools has not been an easy one considering the nature and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic on our day-today lives. The pandemic is such a public health threat that has resulted into a new social order.

“The World Health Organization has even conceded that this pandemic will remain in our habitat, staying with the human race, for some time. As such, the human life must carefully continue to exist and function with a new normalcy. We have no choice, life must go on, but we must ensure that we are following all precautionary measures as advised by our health experts,” said Mtambo.

NICE executive director Ollen Mwalubunju said NICE continues to empower the citizenry through the use of many practical strategies, which include capacity building in entrenching service charters, social accountability such public expenditure tracking, mobilizing them to vote leaders at all levels, interfacing with these leaders for accountability.

Mwalubunju added that through community governance structures such as Citizen Forums, NICE has managed to enhance transparency and accountability at community levels and they are also practical spaces for reaching out to citizens and their communities.

“And since Covid-19 was declared a pandemic in Malawi, NICE as a civic education organization responded by mainstreaming all awareness activities with the Corona 19 messages,” he said.

Mwalubunju said through its officers in all the districts and volunteers across Malawi, the Trust has reached out to all Malawians using strategies that are in line with Malawi Government guidelines on COVID-19.

“In reaching out to all Malawians with awareness messages, NICE continues to use its volunteers to do what we call a door to door campaign. These are trained volunteers who visit households to teach out to families on preventative measures of COVID-19,” he said.

Among other things, these also demonstrate to the households some of the preventive measures like washing hands and also proper ways of putting on a face mask,” he said.

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