Sunday, May 17, 2009

Strengthening Community Based Civil Society

During a recent visit to Milepa, one of ADRA’s “Let’s Fight Aids in Malawi Project” sites in Chiradzulu, we went to Namahala Village where we held Focus Group Discussions with various groups.  These comprised Traditional Leaders, Clergy, IGA Committee, Youth and CBO Executive members.

While discussing with the CBO Executive Committee members (of Namahala CBO), we were pleasantly informed that this CBO had managed to submit a proposal to the National Aids Commission (NAC) and had received funding from the same. In fact they received about MK 900,000.00. They have since used about MK 200,000.00 for some activities (e.g. buying stationery, conducting more training for their members etc) and have about MK 700,000.00 as a balance. From the visits made to other sites, this CBO was the first we came across to have managed to source funds from other organizations through writing and submitting of a proposal.

This is a sign that the efforts of ADRA to build the capacity of Civil Society Organizations is bearing some fruit and to this the members themselves also testified.  Much as all the credit may not be credited to ADRA’s intervention, there’s definitely a significant contribution by ADRA in this endeavor. This will give confidence to the communities in our impact areas and play a big role towards ensuring sustainability of the project activities after the project comes to an end. From their own declaration they believe they will continue with their activities even after the ADRA project ends.

During the discussions, the members indicated that they were confident enough to be used as a role model and to help other CBOs in proposal writing if requested to do so. However, they requested if refresher training could be organized for them in order to consolidate the knowledge they had acquired during the training organized by ADRA earlier.

At the end of the discussions the CBO members were encouraged to continue working with the other established groups as well as other CBOs in order to synergize and have a joint effort in lobbying for assistance from various organizations and also from Government through the District Assembly Offices. They were informed that in having bigger numbers their proposals and requests would have greater impact and receive more attention.

Similar developments are taking place in all (or most) of our project sites.

Author: Dyson Mbengo

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