Malawi civil society organizations (CSOs), with the help of USAID launched a 2011 CSO sustainability index on Thursday in Lilongwe to determine the stand of nongovernmental organisations in the country.

The report which is the first of this kind in Malawi is capturing the status of NGOs in sub Saharan Africa countries by providing an assessment of how civil society organizations operate.

Speaking during the official launch USAID Acting Country Director Stephanie Funk said the report entails many things that civil societies in the country ought to follow when operating.

“The 2011 report for Malawi tells us many things. It reaffirms where CSOs are doing well – such as in service delivery.

“It alerts CSOs and development partners about areas that need more focus, such as improving financial viability and organizational capacity,” said Funk.

Funk also said that beyond the report being a tool, it also builds local capacity as in each country a local organization is sub granted to carry out the research and analysis on operations on NGOs.

The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, CCJP, has been instrumental in the process of collecting data for the report in the country.

CCJP National Secretary Chris Chisoni said not only will the report provide stock taking on how the civil societies are working but also it will give them a platform from which they can learn from other countries.

“The report is an assessment for civil societies on important dimensions on operations of civil societies, legal framework and how the civil societies work with the societies to develop information based advocacy in consolidation of democracy in Malawi,” said Mr Chisoni.

Mr Chisoni said he was grateful that Malawi has now participated in the global initiative by USAID since as the report was being launched for the first time it is an eye opener on how operations of the civil societies are going on in Malawi.

According to the report Malawi CSOs seems to be doing better on service provision but lacking in organization capacity. Among other short falls it notes that Malawi NGOs have no stable finance capacity as they mostly rely on donors and lack strong leadership because they are individualized.

The civil society organization sustainability index is a tool that has been used since 1997 to assess the sustainability of the CSO sector in 29 countries in the Europe and Eurasia.

The report which is a 3rd Edition in sub Saharan Africa covers 23 countries and this year alone four new countries namely Malawi, Botswana, The Gambia and Zambia have also been indexed.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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