Lilongwe, January 29, 2021: The Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare wishes to inform the general public that it  has withdrawn the 2018 NGO Amendment Bill and replaced it with a new draft Bill the “NGO Amendment Bill 2020.

The Non-Governmental Organizations Act of 2001 provides for the rights and obligations of Non-Governmental organizations in Malawi. The Act also provides for the establishment, functions and powers of the Non-Governmental Organizations Board of Malawi with the mandate of registering and regulating the operations of all the NGOs in the country. However, in the course of implementing the provisions of the Act, the Ministry noted a number of inefficiencies in some of its sections which negatively affected its implementation. Therefore, there was a need to amend some of the sections of the Act while pursuing a comprehensive review of the same. After thorough consultations with the NGOs through its umbrella body, it was proposed that the following sections of the Act should be amended: Sections 6; 7; 20 ; 27; 34; 35 and Parts VII and VIII.

The amendment of the Act will therefore help to:

  1. Repeal sections that impede on the freedom of association by aligning the NGO law with Section 32 of Republican Constitution, which promotes the right to freedom of association;
  2. Clearly specify the roles/mandates of the regulatory body from the coordinating bodies thereby reducing instances of misunderstandings among the sector players;
  3. Promote public confidence through transparency and accountability within the NGO sector.
  4. Improve efficiencies in the regulation of the NGO sector in Malawi by strengthening the capacity of the NGO Board to ably execute its mandate, independent from the Government and the NGO sector`s interference.

The proposed amendments are meant to spur sustainable socio-economic growth in accordance with the aspirations of Malawi’s development agenda – Malawi 2063.

The Ministry would like to proceed with the process of amending the Act in a consultative manner to ensure that the Bill not only stands the test of time, but also includes the aspirations of all the relevant stakeholders. In this regard, the Ministry and its stakeholders will hold a drafting session on 8th and 9th February, 2021 to consider all the inputs from the consultative meetings. The following stakeholders are the members of the drafting team: Council for NGOs (CONGOMA), Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC); National Advocacy Platform; International NGO Forum; Story Workshop; Human Rights Consultative Committee; NGO Gender Coordination Network; Malawi Law Society; Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare; Ministry of Justice; NGO Board; Malawi Human Rights Commission; and the Finance Intelligence Authority.

In relation to the foregoing, the Ministry in conjunction with its various stakeholders is hereby calling for input to the draft amendment bill from the public. A copy of the draft Bill can be accessed on the Ministry’s website and any input must be emailed to  with a copy to by Sunday, 7th February, 2021.

Roselyn Makhumula


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