NICE launches 5-year strategic plan with commitment to contribute towards MW2063 attainment

The National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) – a public trust entrusted with responsibilities to lead civic education activities in Malawi – has launched a five-year strategic plan with a commitment to contribute towards the attainment of national development aspirations espoused in the Malawi 2063 (MW2063) agenda.

The Minister of National Unity Timothy Pagonachi Mtambo presided over the launch of the plan, which will run from 2021 to 2026.

The event, which took place in Lilongwe on Thursday, attracted a wide range of participants such as the European Union (EU), which is NICE’s traditional partner, the National Planning Commission (NPC) and senior government officials.

Mtambo (4th from right) poses with other dignitaries while holding the strategic plan in their hands–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times

Mtambo said the launch of the strategic plan has come at a critical time when the Malawi Government has embarked to a long journey of implementing its long-term plan whose success will depend on collective responsibility and NICE is one such institution that can play a crucial role, especially in contributing towards an enabler on mindset change.

He said the plan will be one of the critical platforms through which the Ministry of National Unity and other players in the civic education space will continue to partner and engage in providing further opportunities for Malawians to participate in the public space, including democracy consolidation processes, civic rights and responsibilities.

“This strategic plan will also contribute towards entrenchment of good governance and democracy in Malawi through transformative civic education. On behalf of the Malawi Government, let me also commend NICE for organizing this launch as a way of sensitizing Malawians on the strategies NICE Trust will use in realizing its mandate in the next five years. I have perused through the plan, and I am satisfied that the strategy was well thought through. I am greatly impressed by the quality of the ideas put in the strategic plan,” said Mtambo.

The minister further stated that the plan will provide a good platform for NICE to further partner with government in implementing the just passed Bill on Peace and Unity.

Among many major structures, the Bill proposes to establish the Malawi Peace and Unity Commission at the national level as an umbrella body and focal point of peace building, conflict prevention, management, resolution and transformation, a District Peace and Unity Committee in each local government area and Area Peace and Unity Committees at community level.

Mtambo therefore expressed gratitude that the strategic plan is aligned to key policy instruments such as the Constitution, MW2063, Access to Information Act, the National Civic Education Policy, Gender Equality Act as well as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This indeed, is a clear demonstration that NICE Trust is responsive to the dynamic and changing needs of the Malawian society

“The document is a critical communication tool to NICE Trust’s internal and external stakeholders, as it will empower staff, partners, and the public with adequate information with which they can hold NICE Trust accountable for its delivery of civic education services. This Strategic Plan provides a roadmap for NICE Trust to contribute towards strengthening and deepening of the democratic processes and improved governance in Malawi for accelerated economic growth and poverty reduction,” he said.

NICE Board Chairperson Dr. Zolomphi Nkowani asked the government to lobby for more funding from the development partners and the private sectors to ensure that NICE effectively undertakes its tasks.

Nkowani said the Trust remains committed to reaching out to all people in Malawi, especially the grassroots with messages that will enhance peoples’ patriotism and are willingly taking part in government’s vision.

“Thus, taking full responsibility in ending corruption, poor governance, high sense of economic dependence among others, that are slowing down economic growth in Malawi.  The Trust recognises that these social and governance ills are retrogressive and require consistent civic engagement. It is in view of this, that NICE Trust has been entrusted with this enabler in partnership and guidance of the Ministry of National Unity,” he said.

NPC Director of Knowledge and Learning, Dr. Joseph Nagoli, said the Commission considers NICE Trust as a key partner in the popularisation and implementation of the MW2063 national vision because of its strategic mandate as the main provider of civic education programmes and activities to Malawians.

Nagoli observed that NICE has made significant contributions to Malawi’s development through various civic educations campaigns in the areas of human rights, citizen participation, national elections as well as health education messages, including Covid-19.

“As NPC, we commit ourselves to working closely with NICE Trust so that together we can effectively contribute to the socio-economic transformation of Malawi into a Middle-Income Country that has met most of the Sustainable Development Goals by the year 2030 and an Inclusively Wealthy, Self-Reliant, Industrialised, Upper Middle-Income Country by the year 2063,” he said.

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