Following several years of project design and relations building with Malawian and international organizations, PTF completed a full proposal for funding from the European Union for a procurement monitoring project: Strengthening the Capacity of CSOs to Promote Transparency and Accountability in Public Infrastructure Projects in Malawi.
Funding for the project was approved in August 2019 and the project was scheduled to begin in November 2019, but implementation was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the COVID-19 situation improved, the project commenced its activities in November 2020. However, because travel to Malawi is still not possible from the United States or Europe, focus has been placed in virtual meetings, workshops, and events.
The focus of this project is enhancing the capacity of civil society organizations (CSOs), at national and local levels in Malawi, to demand increased transparency and accountability in public financial management (PFM) as it pertains to all stages of procurement of infrastructure. To accomplish this work, PTF will partner with the African Institute for Corporate Citizenship (AICC), the Integrity Platform (IP), the National Construction Industry Council (NCIC), and CoST-Malawi. Members of the PTF project team include Donal O’Leary, project manager; Wayne Wittig, procurement specialist; and Andrew Wells, finance and administration officer.
On December 17 and 18, 2020, the project’s Inception Workshop was successfully held from Lilongwe, Malawi with members of PTF, CoST Africa, CoST Secretariat and the African Freedom of Information Centre calling in from the US, Europe and Uganda.
The Project Launch event is scheduled for late January at the Sunbird Capital Hotel in Lilongwe. The event will mark the official public start of the project. It will feature roughly forty representatives from the government and civil society community, as well as remote interested parties who will join the meeting virtually. Joe Ching’ani, chair of the CoST Multi-Stakeholder Group, will chair the event and the presidential advisor on CSOs and NGOs will be the guest of honor.
The project is designed to enhance the procurement monitoring capability of CSOs in Malawi, and will focus on achieving the following specific objectives:
- A sufficient number of CSOs are trained to monitor public infrastructure procurement at the project level and to analyze budget expenditures on public infrastructure procurement at the national land district levels in Malawi. This will include familiarizing trainees on using the Information Platform for Public Infrastructure (IPPI);
- Through cooperating with relevant duty bearers, CSOs will have demonstrated their capacities to monitor public infrastructure procurement at the project level and to analyze budget expenditures in public infrastructure procurement at the national and district levels;
- The IPPI is fully operationalized to enable compliance with the FDR regulations in public infrastructure procurement;
- Evidence-based dialogue is promoted between duty bearers and CSOs aimed at improving performance in public infrastructure procurement.