Faith leaders at all cost, have a distinctive role to play in both community and national developments agenda. As members and leaders of the communities, they understand the specific needs in their respective communities and are uniquely placed to respond. Evidently, faith leaders in all spheres of their operations, do not only contribute to the progress of spiritual affairs but also advocate for serving the society and promoting people’s well-being in developmental routines. Malawi’s history clearly indicates how religious networks and their respective leadership have become part of promoting social justice, democracy, and economic transformation in ensuring that livelihood of Malawians at large is better-off.
As part of implementing a five-year project entitled “Fighting Social and Economic Inequalities” , MEJN conducted an engagement meeting with faith leaders in Mangochi District. MEJN believes that Faith Actors have key role in the course of addressing social and economic inequalities’ gap that exists between the poor and rich people. They are also deemed to be agents of social and economic transformation, pillars entrusted to build a harmonious society for the betterment of the communities more specifically less privileged populations, and a grouping of enablers to achieving the goals of the project.
The engagement meeting brought together representatives from different religious networks including: Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM) Mangochi, Pastors Fraternal, District Interfaith Affairs Committee (DIAC), Quadria Muslim Association of Malawi (QMAM) among others. The meeting was held at Mogasi Conference Hall in Mangochi, from Monday 17th to Wednesday 19th May, 2021. It solely intended to orient Faith Leaders on the conceptual framework of the project with the following objectives:
- Conveying the project’s concept of Fighting Economic Inequalities in health, education, extractive and social security sectors,
- Building an effective and functional network, with a single, multi- dimensional, and credible body that can add value to policy processes and analysis and provide mining and social protection related responses in a strategic manner,
- Empowering Faith leaders to advocate for reduction of poverty and inequalities,
- Faith actors to responsibly hold duty bearers accountable on just management of natural resources (extractive agenda),
- Lobbying for extractive sector as a routine to increase budget revenue,
- Enhancing budget oversight by faith actors for evidence-based budget and policy advocacy, and
- Increasing awareness and capacity of faith leaders on education and social protection policies.
A five-year social accountability project whose key focus is on Fighting Social and Economic Inequalities in education, health, mining and social security sectors” is being implemented with funding and technical support from Norwegian Church Aid/Danish Church Aid, a Joint Country Programme (JCP). The project’s overall goal is to enhance responsiveness of duty bearers to right-holders demand for fair and finance and redistribution of resources in education, mining and social protection sectors by 2024.