Friday, February 26, 2010

Local Acceptance is the Key to Success

In rural Malawi, the District Assemblies’ Executive Committees (DECs) are the local authorities. It is essential that these important stakeholders are on your team if development projects are going to succeed. Even with over 2,800 rural villagers enthusiastically engaged in ASAP's Village Savings & Lending project - known as "Chimvano Pa Chuma" or "Unity for Economic Growth" - these well-respected leaders “call the shots”.

In Chikwawa, Blantyre Rural and Mwanza Districts Mr. Victor Katchika-Jere, ASAP Africa Malawi Country Director and Mr. Michael Mainje, the Project Manager, made a series of presentations to these DECs recently. The meetings gave District Assemblies updates on progress made hitherto, challenges encountered and lessons learnt. DEC members were given the opportunity to comment, ask questions and put forward suggestions to ensure quality and increased impact of the program.
In their contribution, DEC members applauded ASAP for constantly updating the DEC. “We are pleased to note that you have achieved a lot in the few months you have been working in the district,” said the Director of Planning and Development for Chikwawa, Mr Chitao. He added “the fact that you have taken heart to update us shows that you are confident in what you are achieving on the ground. I’m appealing to other NGOs to emulate what ASAP has done.” In the picture below, Michael Mainje, ASAP Malawi Project Manager makes a presentation during one of the meetings.
Mr Victor Katchika-Jere, ASAP Malawi Country Director expressed his appreciation for the continuing support ASAP enjoys from the District Assemblies. Said he “We are sharing all these success stories today because you have always given us the support we need. We are committed to working with the under served communities in order to improve the socio-economic status of the rural people in sustainable and effective fashion.” Captured here is Victor Katchika-Jere, in a black jacket, emphasizing a point during the meeting in Chikwawa District.

To read more about ASAP's Village Savings & Lending click here.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

US Congressional Team Visits Zimbabwe

Melvin Watt, a former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, and three other US Congressmen are currently in Zimbabwe assessing the progress of the unity government after one year.

This week the European Union extended sanctions on Zimbabwe for another 12 months, citing a lack of progress in fulfilling the power-sharing pact. The EU will meet again on Zimbabwe next week. Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund's board will consider whether to restore Zimbabwe's IMF voting rights in a meeting on Friday.

To read more click here.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Teachers on Strike Again

Zimbabwean Public Service Minister Eliphas Mukonoweshuro said Monday that his government had no money to pay 200,000 striking civil servants the salary increases they were demanding.

On Friday, 5 Feb, the Zimbabwe Public Service Association (ZPSA), which represents civil servants, announced an indefinite strike to press their demands for a hike in pay.
"It is not unwillingness on the part of the government. It is simply the lack of fiscal capacity on our part," Mukonoweshuro said, expressing sympathy with the workers, most of whom are teachers.

The civil servants are demanding that the salary of the lowest-paid workers be increased from $120 a month to $630 a month. The power-sharing government of President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has offered to increase their wages to $122 in February, rising to $134 in April. "Even if they ask for 300 dollars for the least paid, that would bring the salary bill to 1.3 billion dollars, which is more than the annual budget of the government," Mukonoweshuro explained.

Raymond Majongwe, secretary-general of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, ruled out a return to work, saying: "Let them sell diamonds and we can share that wealth instead of it being enjoyed by a few individuals." Majongwe was referring to the Chiadzwa diamond field in eastern Zimbabwe, which the state seized from a British mining company in 2006. There are 300,000 carats of raw diamonds taken from them that have recently “gone missing”. The quantity of diamonds mined by the government since then is unknown but geologists say the alluvial diamond site is the largest find in a century. Click here to read more about the strike.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The African Union dissolves NEPAD

Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika is the new Chairman of the African Union. As the summit in Addis Ababa closed today, the group resolved to dissolve the New Partnership for Africa Development (NEPAD). NEPAD’s primary objective was to eradicate poverty and promote prosperity and to halt the marginalization of Africa In the globalisation process. To read more click here.

It is reported that the standing AU president from Libya, Muammar Gaddafi, had wanted to stay on as AU chairman. To read more about the just ended AU summit click here.

To learn more about President Bingu wa Mutharika click here.