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Malawi: Strengthening democratic governance through a sector-wide approach

Country: 
Malawi
Posted date: 
Mon, 03/01/2010
As a young democracy, Malawi is challenged by the daunting task of establishing stable democratic institutions. According to the Ministry of Justice’s own Concept Note these challenges range from legal, institutional and human resources that are insufficient, to inadequate or outdated infrastructure, systems and procedures. In addition, the Joint Country Review of Governance in 2007 argues that these challenges are aggravated by ineffective coordination of donor support.
 
As a young democracy, Malawi is challenged by the daunting task of establishing stable democratic institutions. According to the Ministry of Justice’s own Concept Note these challenges range from legal, institutional and human resources that are insufficient, to inadequate or outdated infrastructure, systems and procedures.
As a young democracy, Malawi is challenged by the daunting task of establishing stable democratic institutions. According to the Ministry of Justice’s own Concept Note these challenges range from legal, institutional and human resources that are insufficient, to inadequate or outdated infrastructure, systems and procedures. In addition, the Joint Country Review of Governance in 2007 argues that these challenges are aggravated by ineffective coordination of donor support.
 
Adopting a sector-wide approach to democratic governance aims to provide a solution to some of these challenges. Lead by the Ministry of Justice the sector-wide approach will create a single cohesive and coordinated sector with the expectation that this will assist with donor harmonization: A sector wide approach can be described as a process in which all significant donor funding for the sector supports a unified sector policy and expenditure program, under recipient government leadership, adopting common approaches across the sector.
 
A critical component of strengthening the sector-wide approach will be to establish an efficient monitoring an evaluation system (M&E). M&E can help streamline resources to focus on “what works” for citizens and to improve outcomes. It may offer a critical accountability mechanism for government and citizens to engage on governance issues and voice their opinions. As an added bonus, data and information from the M&E may inform donor assessments and harmonize efforts of data collection.
 
In order to secure legitimacy and accountability, it is important that policy decisions, targets and M&E of the sector emerge from a representative process. The Ministry of Justice spearheaded a participatory and consultative process on the formation, design and coordination approaches in the Democratic Governance Sector. This process coincided with and is therefore positioned within the ongoing institutionalization of other Sector Working Groups (SWGs) in Malawi.
 
The Ministry of Justice is currently working, with assistance from UNDP and other development partners, towards strengthening the M&E system of the democratic governance sector, as part of moving forward with the sector wide approach.