Council for Non-Governmental Organisations in Malawi – CONGOMA had all the reasons to smile on December 14 2017 during the joint meeting between Sector Technical Forum and District Networks after District Networks officials made positive remarks to the coordinating body for serving the Non-Governmental Organisations diligently.
It was vivid enough that representatives of District Networks from 27 Districts who gathered at the meeting were satisfied with how CONGOMA executed its duties. This came after the attendees refused to elect the Chairperson and the Vice Chairperson of District Networks which was amongst the agenda items to be discussed. Instead, they opted to maintain the current status quo where CONGOMA coordinates the operations between District Networks and the NGO community.
The District Networks representatives expressed with concern that once the positions have been filled, then they would lose contact with CONGOMA.
“Once these positions are created, there will be unnecessary bureaucracy. We will not have direct contact with CONGOMA, we will be left out”, lamented a representative from Kasungu District Network Pamela Kandonga.
The District Networks said that CONGOMA perform its roles professionally as the networks are always updated with information on time. With this development, they noted that there was no need for some individuals to replace the good work which CONGOMA carries out. Concluding this subject, the District Networks advised CONGOMA to assign someone within CONGOMA who will be carrying out the coordination tasks, sending information as well as getting in touch with Sector Networks.
CONGOMA organized the joint meeting between District Networks and Sector Technical Forum with an aim of soliciting issues emerging from various Districts and present them at the National level for duty bearers to take action on critical matters raised.
This year’s meeting as usual was sponsored by IM Swedish Development Partner whose top officials also graced the meeting.
According to the Country Director for IM Swedish Development Partner Steve Tahuna IMSDP has deliberate programmes to strengthen capacity of CSOs in Finance Management, Human Resource Management, Governance, Programme Management and service delivery.
“With CONGOMA we are building its capacity on how to communicate with its members at the same time strengthen the District Networks. The whole idea is where we are looking at how we can identify issues on the ground, issues that disadvantage marginalised groups in our society and pick up those issues and raise them at different levels”, explained Tahuna.
“I am here to understand, to listen, what is going on the ground, what are some of the challenges present and find key issues to be addressed. We are developing our new country strategy beginning 2019 and forward hence listening more from the District Networks and see how to work and support them”, further emphasized Tahuna.
The IMSDP Country Director also acknowledged the importance of Civil Society Organisations as they are key players who listen to the people, represent the voices of people and liaising with duty bearers.
He did assure the CSOs that his organisation will strive to support the work of NGOs.
The Executive Director for CONGOMA Ronald Mtonga, took his turn by expressing gratitude towards the support being given by IMSDP. He thanked Tahuna for being present at the meeting and thanked his organisation for sponsoring the event.
Mtonga also presented to the gathering the contents found in the new CONGOMA strategic plan for 2018-2022.
“In the plan, there are three priority areas which include capacity building of NGOs, Advocacy for a conducive environment including issues of NGO Act and Policy and NGO Sector impact coordination among others”, highlighted the Executive Director for CONGOMA.
The issues that were presented at the joint meeting would be used for joint advocacy in 2018.