Sustainability of interventions is still a dilemma many organisations fight with on a daily basis. After spending a week in Malawi and interacting with different stakeholders from different backgrounds (lawyers, magistrates, police officials, community leaders, religious leaders, prison officials and right activists), I realized these cohorts do not only make civil societies work a success, but also hold each other accountable towards their mandate in supporting civil society interventions. When they discuss their mandates and understand what roles they are to collectively contribute towards their communities, civil societies interventions becomes more sustainable.
On my first day at work in Malawi, I participated in one of the stakeholder’s meeting, the government arm: the judiciary facilitated by Women’s Campaign International was my host partner organisation under the FK-Norway Exchange Programme – Center for Legal Assistance (CELA) was invited to participate.
I was excited to interact with over 20 magistrates from the Malawi Judiciary Commission. What intrigued me was the fact that this busy and learned fellows gather together with energy in a forum to discuss issues that affect and continues to hinder the rights and leadership roles of vulnerable and illiterate women in their communities. Women judges in Malawi through their association – Women Judges Association of Malawi (WJAM). Derived mechanisms through which they can contribute to put smiles into the faces of vulnerable and illiterate women in Malawi. Among the mechanism I proposed in this forum was the use of performing art as a holistic approach to sensitizing and actively engaging the rural members of the communities.
In my second stakeholders meeting in Kasungu District, I observed how the Police, Judiciary, Prisons, Paralegal Services, Human Rights Agencies, Civil Society Organisations and the community’ duty bearers hold each other accountable. This way they were able to come up with real solutions to their challenges and appreciated the benefits of intra-communication. Civil Society Organisations strategies on sustainability lie in stakeholder’s involvement in their activities. This way their interventions are owned by the communities and cohorts they serve.
The most important thing I took from these meetings is that; for Civil Society Organisations interventions to add more value to the lives of the communities they target, stakeholders should learn to hold each other accountable to the gaps that exist in their mandates.