Non Governmental Organizations such as charities, churches and professional associations exist in every country regardless of levels of economic growth. Unlike the general situation in developed countries, Non governmental Organization also operates in urban areas in rich countries. What matters is the purpose for the Non Governmental Organization.

Purpose is probably what differentiates the way non governmental organizations operate in developed countries from developing countries. In Malawi, most Non Governmental Organizations operate in rural areas. The strange thing is that almost all the Non Governmental Organizations have their head offices in towns and cities. Why spend money hiring expensive premises in cities when the target population is in the rural areas?
The central philosophy that drives not for profit organizations is the human desire to assist others without gaining personal benefit. Is the practice of locating offices in cities not intended to benefit the senior officers who sleep in expensive houses and drive expensive cars? We know that good houses are in cities. This is where large sums of donor money intended to help the poor is spent.

It is often forgotten that religious institutions including trade unions, sport clubs and professional organizations constitute not for profit organizations. Confusion often arises from nomenclature. Ordinarily, not for profit organizations are expected to compliment government’s activities. What is worrying is when government porches individuals from non governmental organizations to serve in state organizations.

The practice should be discouraged because it is corruption. It is intended to weaken the capacity of the non governmental sector. There is no way development can take place without disagreements. It is undisputable that not for profit organizations were established by people who had a cause and wanted to make a difference to it.

Incidentally, the not for profit sector is currently growing in confidence when public sector organizations are perceived to be inadequate and corrupt. The not for profit organization has the unique ability to combine entrepreneurialism with a social conscience. What government needs to do is to fund the not for profit organizations that are perceived to be run efficiently and not to porch their employees. It is common knowledge that churches are the ones that started development in Malawi.

The churches opened hospitals, schools, media houses and orphanages. Why not channel some of the development funds through the churches?. We need a Bureau of the Clergy in the Office of the President not at state house to warehouse all religious institutions. Religious leaders need to exercise care when serving in secular positions lest they lose purpose. There is a purpose for every organization.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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