The Malawi Human Rights Youth Network (MHRYN) embarked on a project whose one of the project’s key strategies was to Enhanced voice, participation and demand for accountability by citizen groups such as youth and children through interacting with duty bearers and decision-makers to effect the necessary changes to local-level budget cycle and decision-making processes in order to guarantee that their rights and the presidential commitments are fulfilled.
The primary target of the project was the children and youth as a marginalized group; whilst also targeting the duty bearers in the catchment areas.
The project overall goals, specific outcomes and expected outputs were:
Overall goal: Enhanced voice, participation and demand for accountability by citizen groups such as youth and children through interacting with duty bearers and decision-makers to effect the necessary changes to local-level budget cycle and decision-making processes in order to guarantee that their rights and the presidential commitments are fulfilled.
Specific Expected Outcomes:
- Increased knowledge and capacity of children and youth to demand accountability for fulfillment of their rights, including 2014 presidential commitments.
- Enhanced social dialogue between children/youths and government officials (members of parliament, councilors and officials in line ministries and strategic government agencies) on fulfillment of commitments made
- Children and youth have been mobilized and supported to demand accountability from public officials at national levels and in 4 selected districts.
- Evidence generated to use as basis for holding public officials to account for their commitments.
- Sustained engagement between children/ youth and duty bearers on commitments made (and their implications)
- Orientation of children and youth on child participation forums and modalities.
The aim of the activity was to impart knowledge on the youths and children on what child participation model is and the importance of developing one to be used in each district as one mechanism of children and youths to voice out their concerns and issues which could be incorporated in development activities. At the end of the meeting; 60 Youth and children were conversant with the child and youth participation model.
- Consultation on the development of the child participation model.
The consultation targeted youth and children that were trained in the model initially. The aim of the activity was to enable the consultant get ideas and information on how to develop child participation model that will be relevant and can be used at district level with effectiveness. The consultation meeting was attended by 23 of which (31%) were children and 69% were youths from different youth organization. Through this meeting, the participants discussed and brought out their ideas on how the child participation should look like and to use it for positive impact.
- Engagement of district councilors and other duty bearers of the district level of child participation model and orientation of councilors and district level officials and child rights (CRC)
The activity aimed at introducing the child participation model to the duty bearers and for their awareness and to welcome the proposed agenda as they are the focal point. During the meeting the councilors were orientated on child rights as child participation model is building from the rights of children. This was done as one way of equipping them with knowledge to fully understand the importance of the child participation model as an avenue of children and youths to voice issues concerning them and make a follow up on whether there are being fulfilled.
- Interface meeting between district councils and children and youths at district level.
The aim behind these interface meetings was for children/ youth to interact/ interface and follow up on issues concerning the presidential commitments and other issues related to children developments and rights being implemented in the four districts with reference to the 10 presidential commitments the president committed in the run to the 2014 tripartite election.
MHRYN was able access information pertaining to the duty bearer’s information whether children’s issues are being implemented and if not why and what will be the solution. The information is being used by the children and youth forums to follow on issues like schools, youth center etc.
The project brought about increased knowledge of 10 presidential commitments for children and youths of Malawi, Advocacy and lobbying, decentralization and increased youth participation and engagement between children/ youth and duty bearers on commitments made and their implications
Through the project, there has been a mindset change concerning the significance of children and youth’s participation and demand for accountability through interacting with duty bearers and decision-makers to effect the necessary changes to local-level budget cycle. This change of mindset translated into increased children/ youths following up and holding duty bearers accountable on presidential commitments. In some cases, they were also holding leadership positions in these forums. It also enhanced social dialogue between children/ youth and government officials.
The impact and sustainability of the project results hinge more on project ownership by project beneficiaries which was evident during the project: The use of media, various capacity building interventions, interface meeting which were a human capital investment that has left the project beneficiaries with a variety of knowledge and skills that they can use in the long run; which is evidenced by continued reports of success stories being attributed to the project even after the project has phased out. Thus, the success of the project can be attributed to both the completed implementation of the project and realized project results as well as the promising sustainability of the project.