Print this page    •   Back to Web version of article

International News
Malawi NGOs Express Concern Over Funding as Disbursement Responsibility Is Transferred to Local Authorities

October 9, 2008

As the disbursement of funding to 3,000 HIV/AIDS community-based organizations in Malawi is being shifted from international nongovernmental organizations to local government authorities, known as district assemblies, a number of groups are expressing concern about the ability of some assemblies to distribute the money, IRIN/PlusNews reports.

Bizwick Mwale, the country's National AIDS Commission executive director, said that the international NGOs, called umbrella bodies, were contracted in 2003 to disperse HIV/AIDS funding from donors and the government until the district assemblies had developed the capacity to take over the task. Mwale said, "We did an assessment after 18 months and found there was still a gap (in capacity), so we extended the contract to umbrellas for another two years, with the view that by that time (the district assemblies) would be ready." Although some responsibilities already have been transferred to the district assemblies, Ishmael Nkosi, a policy and advocacy officer at the Malawi Network of AIDS Service Organisations, said, "Our membership is worried because the process involved will be lengthy, and there are some reports that when a CBO (community-based organization) comes up with a proposal, (the district assemblies) demand a certain percentage from this amount," adding, "There are also concerns that there will be a lot of nepotism in the approving of funds."

The distribution of funding from international donors to local organizations also has proven to be a long and often problematic process, according to IRIN/PlusNews. McBride Nkhalamba -- an HIV/AIDS coordinator at the international NGO ActionAid, which served as one of NAC's umbrella bodies until 18 months ago -- said disbursements from NAC often were late or inconsistent. Groups also experienced delays or the cancellation of grants because they lacked the skills or training to adequately account for funds received in the previous quarter. Nkhalamba said, "An organization has to account through a very vigorous system, and some of the demands are discriminatory, because if you're dealing with a local organization there's only so much you can expect." He added that often so much time passes between when an organization writes a proposal and when it receives the funds that situations on the ground have changed.

According to Mwale, organizations should be prepared for some disruption in the disbursement of grants while district assemblies take over for the umbrella bodies (IRIN/PlusNews, 10/7).

Back to other news for October 2008

Reprinted with permission from You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2008 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. You can find this article online by typing this address into your Web browser:

General Disclaimer: is designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice or professional services. The information provided through should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, consult your health care provider.