Malawi introduced adult literacy programmes in 1985. Thirty-three years down the line, however, the initiative has been running without a guiding policy. But this is about to change as Malawi has made significant strides towards adopting its first ever policy dubbed the Adult Literacy and Lifelong Learning Policy, thanks to support from DVV International.
Since December 2017, DVV International has supported the review of a policy which had been in draft form for 15 years, and has provided technical support to the policy development process, drawing from its over 45 years of experience around the world.
On 25 October 2018, DVV International supported the Malawi government in the holding of a public consultation workshop which brought together various government ministries and CSOs to input into the policy development process.
Clotilda Sawasawa, Director of Community Services in the Ministry of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development spoke during the opening of the workshop and said her ministry had previously been resource constrained and thus had been unable to finalise the policy which had been in draft form for over a decade. She added that changes in the format of government polices also contributed to the delays.
She thanked DVV International for its support and indicated that, once in place, the policy would help resource mobilisation and capacity strengthening of the sector. “The Policy will provide for a more systematic staff development and improve supervision and monitoring because it will have clear benchmarks,” she said.
DVV international Regional Director for Southern Africa, David Harrington said participation of various actors in policy development processes is key for success. “This process of policy development that we are participating in here today is an essential step in ensuring that Malawi will have a well-funded, robust and efficient system for the adult education sector.
“A policy is not just a document that emanates from within some government department. It is a living document that belongs to all citizens. It impacts the lives of all people throughout the country. Therefore, it is essential that policy development is a consultative process that involves as many national stakeholders as possible,” he added.
Participants in the public consultation challenged government to make the most of the support from DVV International and ensure that policy finalisation and adoption is expedited. Participants requested that government make the policy inclusive and develop resource mobilisation and visibility strategies to ensure that implementation does not stall.
Following the public consultation, the Ministry of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development will facilitate a validation meeting where government ministry principal secretaries will provide final input before submission to the Cabinet for approval. It is expected that the policy will be adopted in early 2019.