Much as coordination of WASH Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) is stronger at national level through the various WES Network forums and platforms, it was with the great concern to note that coordination at district level is compromised. To ensure systems and structures and effectively operating and are strengthened, WES Network secretariat assessed coordination of both CSOs and government bodies in districts.
On a sad note, the secretariat learnt that NGOs are not engaging accordingly with government structures like the District Coordination Team (DCT) and CSOs network. At times, NGOs are not following guidelines when implementing projects. For example; sometimes the DCT is made aware by officials on the ground of a project by some NGOs which were never introduced at DCT meetings. “There are times we just hear that this borehole was drilled by a certain organisation months ago, and such has led to substandard infrastructure”. Said Kondwani Andrea who is the District Water Development Officer (DWDO) for Mangochi District. “This is why when institutions do not share their budget we do not approve a project because we need to ensure that projects are monitored and supervised” continued Andrea. “It is unfortunate that when we do so, some NGOs think that government officials are just up to the allowances, I mean what is a MK4000 ($5) compared to a substandard borehole?” lamented Andrea.
A similar complaint was raised in Phalombe district where an NGO complained of how government officials ask for allowances during CSO meetings or DCT meetings. “According to our policy guidelines, we can only offer refreshments and not allowances” said an NGO official that opted for anonymity.
Commenting on the matter the secretariat have noted that all these issues are arising because of poor coordination. In an event where NGOs and Government are engaging at all levels thus from planning stage to reporting stage, such incidents can be avoided because as actors they will follows guidelines and policies that they have jointly developed.
On the other hand, it was pleasing to note how CSOs in Nsanje and Kasungu are coordinating, engaging and transparent with government and each other when implementing projects.
WES Network secretariat has so far assessed nine districts namely Chitipa, Rumphi, Mangochi, Nkhatabay, Phalombe Nsanje, Chikwawa, Zomba, Kasungu and Machinga.