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Enhancing Civil Society Capacity For Advocacy and Monitoring: Malawi’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Budget

By: Dalitso Kingsley Kubalasa, Limbani Bartholomew Elia Nsapato

Malawi has adopted a number of policies to combat poverty, disease, and ignorance, including the Statement of Development Policies. While these have continued to exist on paper, the reality and implementation usually have not matched the rhetoric. The situation changed considerably following the country’s shift to a democratic multiparty state in 1994, which ushered in the adoption of a Poverty Alleviation Program as the operative development philosophy. This was subsequently complemented by the longer-term Malawi Vision 2020, developed after allegedly extensive public consultations. Then Malawi adopted its Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) in 2002 before moving on, in 2006, to the second-generation PRS: the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS). However, none of these initiatives has been made fully operational with a fundable action plan, and all have been plagued with implementation challenges.

This case study recounts an interesting success story in empowering a critical citizenry. As a civil society organization (CSO) coalition dedicated to promoting pro-poor participatory economic governance in Malawi, the Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN) recognizes that its strength and future is in its ability to build capacity, increase knowledge, and develop advocacy skills among its members.