Kusamala keeps increasing its visibility in different forums that discuss issues of national interest. From the 26th-28th September we participated in a National Training Workshop on Policy Lobbying and Advocacy and a National Policy Dialogue Meeting that were organized by Civil Society Agriculture Network.

Participants in a Group photo

The training workshop was held at Kuka lodge in area 43 in Lilongwe. The focus was on how NGOs can work with farmers in the communities and identify problems and other issues facing smallholder farmers and advocate for them. The training ended with district civil society networks identifying different advocacy themes and developing a strategy through which the intended agendas will be advanced.

The policy dialogue meeting was held at crossroads hotel in Lilongwe and the negotiations were about the government’s Green Belt Initiative [GBI]. The dialogue was centred on a paper presentation made by Dr Henry Chingaipe titled, Green Belt Initiative: Policy Processes and Civic Engagement. The process of designing and implementing the GBI has been top-down. Except for ad hoc sensitization meetings, there has been no genuine consultation with communities even where land was going to be alienated from them. Dr Chingaipe made the following recommendations: more inclusive structures for civic engagement such as Area Development Committees, Village Development Committees; develop a strategy for private partnership development; develop guidelines for community level decision making on land alienation; develop guidelines for reallocation and resettlement under the GBI and finally develop guidelines on land use to ensure food availability as well as non food or cash crops for export.

For a full paper of the “Green Belt Initiative: Policy Processes and Civic Engagement” follow the link: http://www.cisanetmw.org/site/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=146

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