NGO authority concerned with CSOs low score on public image

The NGO Regulatory Authority (NGORA)—a state-owned registrar and regulator of all NGOs and civil society organizations in Malawi—has said it is equally concerned with the low rating of CSOs on public image in the 2021 Civil Society Organizations Sustainability Index (CSOSI) for Malawi.

NGORA has since urged CSOs to adhere to the NGO Act 2022, saying the law has fundamentals that help CSOs build a good public image.

The CSOSI report, disseminated early this week by the Institute of Public Opinion and Research (IPOR), gave CSOs a score of 4.7 on public image. According to the report, the score means sustainability of CSOs was “evolving” on this dimension.

The report attributes the low score to, among others, CSOs not engaging public relations staff to raise awareness about their activities or promote their image and not publishing annual reports with financial statements.

“The objective of the then stalled NGO Act Amendment Bill (passed in Parliament and enacted into law in 2022) is to develop a robust CSO code of conduct emphasizing principles of fiduciary integrity, public accountability and democratic decision making,” the report reads in part.

Reacting to the low score, NGORA Public Relations Officer, Lucy Bandazi, said the development only confirms the assertion that many CSOs are defying the NGO Law, resulting into bruising their image and a loss of public trust owing to low levels of accountability to the public.

“The NGO Law focuses on ensuring that public benefit and interest take center stage in the operations of CSOs/NGOs.

“The NGO Law is very clear on promoting public confidence and public image in the NGOs/CSOs. The law is clear on promoting public interest in all that CSOs do since the money they mobilize is done on behalf of the public.

“It is with this in mind that we are equally concerned with the low rating on public image emanating from unsatisfactory accountability to the public on the part of CSOs,” said Bandazi.

She further said the NGO law entrenches operations of international NGOs by ensuring they implement programs in partnership with local players, adding this in itself enhances CSOs sustainability.

Other factors resulting in low rating on public image are: CSOs not acting in the interest of the public and being silent on critical issues.

The report says many organizations, especially those that were vocal towards the 2020 elections, were seen as silent on critical issues facing the public, including the high cost of living and increasing corruption.

The CSOSI reports on the strength and viability of the civil society sector using a standard scoring template, with a focus on seven key dimensions.

These are: legal environment, organization capacity, financial viability, advocacy, service provision, sectorial infrastructure and public image.

According to the report, the CSOs were given a score of 5.5 on legal environment, 5.5 on organization capacity, 6.6 on financial viability, 4.2 on advocacy, 4.4 on service provision, 5.3 on sectorial infrastructure and 4.7 on public image.

Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :

Sharing is caring!

Follow us in Twitter
Read previous post:
IBAM, security expert back Chakwera on national IDs use for Malawian, Zambian businesspersons

Indigenous Business Association of Malawi (IBAM) and security expert have backed a call by President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera to introduce...