Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the government of Iceland to provide improved social services in Mangochi.
The MoU is for a four-year Mangochi basic services programme to run from December this year until 2021. Iceland has pumped in $16 million (about K11.7 billion) for the programme.
Speaking when he signed the MoU on behalf of Malawi Government, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa said this is a continuation of the work Iceland has been doing in the area.
“Not only have they brought this programme, they are also funding another programme that started in 2012,” he said.
Nankhumwa warned against abuse of the funds, saying his ministry will be conducting audits.
In his remarks, Mangochi district commissioner Moses Chimphepo said women and children, in particular, will benefit from the new programme.
He said: “Of course, the programme has education, infrastructural development and agriculture, but I feel it is in health that Mangochi stands to benefit most as part of the funds will be used to turn Makanjira Health Centre into a fully-fledged hospital that will have surgical and maternity wards. This will greatly promote safe motherhood.”
Embassy of Iceland Charge de Affaires Augusta Gisladottir echoed the minister’s call for transparency and accountability.
She said: “There may be enough political will over a programme at the top level but in the end, it all boils down to the locals. It is the council’s prudence that matters most. Otherwise, the challenges we saw in Mangochi compelled us to renew the programme for a further four years as most of the investments are medium to long-term.” n