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Engagement for Results: Capacitating National Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and their networks to effectively participate in the SADC regional integration process
The Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa (SDGC/A) and CUTS International in collaboration with Centre for Youth Empowerment and Civic Education (CYECE) in Malawi are implementing a Project Titled: Engagement for Results: Capacitating Regional Civil Society Organizations. This project is part of the Integrated Institutional Capacity Building (IICB) for the SADC Secretariat and National Stakeholders in partnership with its stakeholders in achieving regional commitments particularly, the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) - (2020-2030) and SADC vision 2050.
On the 24th -25th April 2023, The SDGC/A in collaboration with the Centre for Youth Empowerment and Civic Education (CYECE) hosted the second National Workshop in Malawi in a hybrid format for National Civil Society Organizations and their networks to effectively participate in the SADC regional integration process
The proceedings from the event are found on SDGCA Youtube channel. The event was officiated by the guest of Honour, First Deputy Speaker of Official Parliament, Hon. Madalitso Kazombo MP
In his remarks, Hon. Madalitso Kazombo MP reiterated that “ Multi-stakeholder responsibility and coordination is one of the core value and principle that underpin the operations of SNCs. It is when we come together that we can really make an impact. Parliament which is already represented in the SADD National committees must work hand in hand with CSOs to educate our citizens of what entails regional integration so that when parliament is moved to legislate, citizens have not difficulties in embracing the regional integration drive”. download full speech
Dr Enock Nyorekwa Twinoburyo, Senior Economist from The SDGC/A, emphasized that "Partnership is also considered as one of the goals –Goal 17 which is about revitalizing the global partnership for sustainable development. The 2030 Agenda is universal and calls for action by all countries – developed and developing – to ensure no one is left behind. It requires partnerships between governments, the private sector, and civil society. Through the partnership, The Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa ((SDGC/A) and CUTS International together with country partners ( for Malawi Centre for Youth Empowerment and Civic Education (CYECE) in Malawi )are implementing a Project Titled: Engagement for Results: Capacitating Regional Civil Society Organizations. This project is part of the Integrated Institutional Capacity Building (IICB) for the SADC Secretariat and National Stakeholders in partnership with its stakeholders in achieving regional commitments particularly, the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) - (2020-2030) and SADC vision 2050".
John Kabaghe from Ministry of Foreign Affairs, In his presentation , he intimated Malawi has established SADC National Committee (SNC) since 2021, with representation from NSAs. In particular, the NSAs are represented by the Speaker, Malawi National Assembly;President, Malawi Confederation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI); President, Non-Governmental Organisations of Malawi (CONGOMA); Chairperson, Public Affairs Committee (PAC);President, Media Council of Malawi (MCM); and President, Malawi Congress of Trade Unions. The SNC is supported by a steering committee which has secretaries from the following ministries: Foreign Affairs (Chairperson), Trade, Secretary for Agriculture, Transport and Public, Health and Defence. The SNC and its steering committee are supported by five technical sub committees (Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment (TIFI), Infrastructure and Services (I&S), Food Agriculture and Natural Resources (FANR), Social And Human Development And Special Programmes as well as cross cutting issues(SHD & SP) and Security & Defence. There is CSO and other NSAs engagement in all the technical commitees. However, there is need for more work to operationalize and increase visibility of the SNC in Malawi. The SNC only met once in 2022, which is not sufficient time to digest and fully represent on vast SADC issues. There are also other challenges that include: Lack of human and financial resources to implement activities, Lack of training for the SNC Members and Lack of commitment by the SNC members to drive the SADC agenda forward.
Bertha Lipipa-PHIRI | Executive Director | Malawi Economic Justice Network
SADC acknowledges non state actors but has difficulty in inter acting with them. SADC national committees are relatively inadequate and thereby ineffective. MEJN as Network, of comprehensive and representative operates through the Southern Africa People Solidarity Network SAPSN, coordinating CSOs and peoples voices to generate a Malawi position papers that feed into the SADC people’s summit.
There are still missing links which include not limited to a) CSO requires more than informed citizens on issues of governance and accountability; b) Challenge of balancing national interests and those that are presented at regional c) the SADC proposed NSA Forum can be a model that enhances the discussion of the SADC issues at National Level. There is need for legitimate civil society coordinated voices that is rooted and connected to communities; Strengthened coalitions and alliances od state actors; and long term set of strategies and resources. Speaking notes found here
James Ngulube , SDGs Advisor, SDG Center for Africa, stated that The monitoring and reporting framework is a key engine to an evidence based on an advocacy strategy with the, ensuring that the outcomes have the greatest possible impact. Monitoring helps one better their advocacy techniques, understand what influences and methods result in change, and makes them more responsible to stakeholders. Advocacy is the strategic use of information to influence the policies and actions of those in positions of power or authority to achieve positive changes in people’s lives. Advocacy should be based on the experience and knowledge of the people and communities it aims to support. Advocacy work includes awareness raising of issues through lobbying, campaigning, seminar, public reports and working with the media. It can be targeted at different levels. Advocacy work can be targeted at different levels: Regional levels, including SADC regional institutions, policies and strategies, and integrated national policies and strategies; National levels, including national legislation and government policies, resource allocation, and institutional structures and engagement mechanisms; Local levels, including local implementation and monitoring of SADC RISDP. Presentation is found here ( see PDF)
Ronald Mtonga, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) · The Council for Non governmental organizations in Malawi (CONGOMA), while on the Panel, he underlined three issues related with Regional Integration and Civil Society:
1. CSOs fail to effectively use available policy spaces coz among other things:
- competition among CSOs for fame.
- lack of evidence based advocacy in which some CSOs are mere alarmists and social commentators in the newspapers ad on the radio most often.
- inability to effectively plan to engage Governments or SADC which are systems that once they take off, they do not wait for anyone.
2. Regional Integration, yes, can be touted as beneficial to States but among other elements, the issue of Free Trade Areas should be teatrd with caution as it can seriously & negatively harm small economies like Malawi through:
- Loss of tax revenue if such losses are not compensated for by big economies.
- lack of capacity to manage and enforce Rules of Origin for goods to be traded in a free trade area.
3. Council for NGOs (CONGOMA) is ready within its legal mandate to coordinate NGOs/ CSOs at all levels inclusively and on any issue current or emerging.
Mr. Dennis Rweyemamu, Head Policy & Strategy Development Unit at the SADC Secretariat, in his presentation , NSAs include a wide range of formal and informal organizations - NGOs and think tanks to trade unions, foundations, faith-based organizations, community- based organizations, media, and business associations. They also a wide realm of roles that include not limited to: Service delivery; Capacity building; Research and advocacy; Watch dogs; Business; and Information sharing (media). NSAs are supposed to pursue their mandates in support of the SADC Agenda as outlined in the RISDP 2020-2030.
He underlined a number of goals precedent in current forms of engagement mechanisms that include among others the lack of formalized mechanisms that provide for NSAs engagement with the SADC structures and processes, limited resources for NSAs to engage and having no dedicated focal point within SADC Secretariat to coordinate NSA engagement.
He resounded that SADC in August 2022, approved SADC Mechanism of Engagement with NSAs, to address that gaps. As such, it provides for the Establishment of an NSA Forum divided into thematic clusters, groups or pillars of development within the SADC as well as establishing a dedicated NSA liaison office within the SADC Secretariat in order to create an avenue for consultation management and feedback between NSAs and the Secretariat. SADC has developed Guidelines for Accrediting NSAs, and is expected to be approved in august following multi stakeholder consultations.
Gray Kalindekafe, his presentation was summary of of the key findings from National Initiative for Civic Education Trust (NICE) Afrobarometer study report. It, among other issues, provides an overview of Malawians’ knowledge of regional and international cooperation organizations such as SADC, the African Union (AU), and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA); their awareness of SADC projects and initiatives that are being implemented in Malawi at the community, district and national levels and their views on the ease or difficulty of cross-border movement of people and goods within SADC. The findings of the survey show that just over half (53%) of Malawians expressed knowledge of SADC with the knowledge of SADC higher among men compared to women. This gender difference in knowledge and awareness of SADC might be due to several factors, including relatively lower education levels among Malawian women as well as lower exposure to media among women.
Overall, SADC’s visibility within Malawi can also benefit from the greater engagement of the organization in promoting free movement, by, among others, promoting measures that reduce barriers to movement within the SADC member countries
Takeaway from the two-day event, It was agreed to form a CSO Advocacy Forum with seven CSO umbrella bodies including CONGOMA.
Download all the presentations
Also follow details using SDGCA social media pages eg Twitter @SDGCAfrica , on Facebook and CYECE @Cyece_malawi #SADCRI22_23
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