Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) Board of Malawi has asked Malawians to play their rightful role by demanding transparency and accountability from the NGOs working in the country.

NGO Board Chairperson Emily Banda made the call at Nkhotakota Boma saying NGOs usually demand transparency and accountability from government, public and donors but it is unfortunate that the public does not take courage in demanding the same from the NGOs.

Banda warned that a Council for Non-Governmental Organisations (CONGOMA) certificate alone is not proof that an NGO is registered saying the NGO board is the only authority that registers, deregisters and regulates non-governmental organisations in the country.

She said in line with Section 20 of the NGO Act, every organisation that wishes to operate or is operating in Malawi as an NGO must register with the NGO Board.

“The registration of an NGO in Malawi is complete after registering with the NGO Board. Registration with CONGOMA is a step towards registration with the NGO Board. It is one of the registration requirements.

“Section 6 of the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) Act, (Cap 5:05 of Laws of Malawi) establishes the Non-Governmental Board of Malawi as a “regulatory body” of all NGOs in Malawi. To-date, NGO Board has registered 457 NGOs. (CONGOMA has 800 members, 500 active),” she said.

Nkhotakota District Executive Committee members however observed that there are many issues that come out concerning unregistered NGOs in the country but the Board does not intervene.

In response however, Banda said the body does not act on heresies but rather written complaints. She, therefore, asked the DEC members to report any NGO issue to the NGO body through written account.

The board chairperson advised that at district level, the District Commissioner, Director of Planning and Development, District Social Welfare Officer and District Community Welfare offices in consultation with the NGO Board of Malawi can take action against an NGO operating in the district not in compliant with the law.

She said those offices can check registration, subscription renewal, submission of annual reports and work plans of NGOs working in their districts.

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