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LGAP expands to Malawi’s districts to improve functionality of councils

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The Local Government Accountability and Performance (LGAP) projectis expanding to all 28 districts in Malawi, following an investment of US$14.9 million from DFID to strengthen governance systems at the district council level.

This additional funding brings the total project value to US$39.9 million for LGAP,USAID’s flagship vehicle for decentralization and local government strengthening,spanning five years from 2016 through 2021.

The project expansion from eight to 28 districts has been made possible through a collaboration between USAID and DFID.

Commenting on the expansion, LGAP Chief of Party Virginia Chitanda said: “We are delighted to receive this additional support, which is a vote of confidence in LGAP’s model of enhancing district council functionality. We are more than prepared to support all district councils in their work and share lessons with the additional 20 districts from the eight councils where we have been working over the past three years.

“Through our tested integrated approach, we will ensure that our interventions have a positive impact on the lives of local citizens. We thank DFID andUSAID for entrusting LGAP to lead this cause in promoting effective decentralization and strengthening district councils.”

As a systems strengthening project, LGAP supports the Government of Malawi as it devolves personnel, financial, and service delivery responsibilities to increasingly autonomous local government councils.

Under the expansion, the project will work with an additional 20 district councils, building on lessons from LGAP’sinitial eight districts of M’mbelwa, Kasungu, Lilongwe, Balaka, Machinga, Zomba, Blantyre and Mulanje.

Technical and in-kind support to the additional councils will be based on need and evidence-based criteria, while maintaining a focus on institutions and service delivery.

LGAP will also provide support to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to strengthen the policy and regulatory framework for decentralization, while concurrently working with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology to support implementation of education governance interventions in primary schools.

For his part, Secretary for Local Government and Rural Development Charles Kalemba, whose ministry champions the decentralization agenda in Malawi, said:

“The Ministry welcomes LGAP’s expansion to all 28 district councils to strengthen and deepen operations of our councils. From the eight district councils where LGAP operated before this expansion, we have seen significant changes in terms of planning, public finance management, devolution of human resource, and capacity development for our officers and elected officials, as well as broad public sector reforms.

“We will continue to support LGAP to transform our district councils so that they deliver on their mandate of providing quality public services to citizens in line with the decentralization policy the Government of Malawi adopted in 1998.”

As part of this expansion, the project will deepen support to education sector governance, including support to local education structures and performance management.

Support to sector governance in other key service sectors, such as health and agriculture,at the national and district levels will also continue in furtherance of improved service delivery through enhanced decentralized governance, while taking into consideration needs of youth and vulnerable groups in Malawi.