In 2008, the Government of Malawi adopted Sector Working Group (SWG) approach as an implementation modality of its medium term development goals espoused in the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS). The Democratic Governance (DG) sector was one of the 16 SWGs created.
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Following the adoption of this working arrangement by Government, the leadership of the DG SWG formulated the DG sector Policy Framework Paper (PFP) in 2010 and Sector Strategy in 2013. The PFP has eight key pillars, namely: i) Rule of Law; ii) Human Rights; iii) Access to Justice; iv) Public Safety and Security; v) Integrity, Accountability and Transparency; vi) Public Participation; vii) Free and Fair Elections; viii) Management and Coordination of the sector. The pillars identified in the PFP formed the basis for the development of the first 5year Democratic Governance Sector Strategy (DGSS). The DGSS identified six key outcomes to achieve the policy objectives of the PFP. These include: i) effective democratic governance sector institutions; ii) strengthening rule of law, improved access to justice, public safety and security; iii) improved protection and promotion of human rights; iv) free and credible elections; v) transparent and accountable and responsive democratic governance sector institutions and; vi) more effective, independent and representative legislature.
The approval of the Sector Policy Framework and Sector Strategy, marked an important milestone in the pursuit of democratic governance outcomes in Malawi. The Strategy outlined the agenda for transforming Malawi into a truly democratic, just, safe, secure and prosperous country, in which everyone enjoys their human rights and enjoys a dignified life.
Since 2013, DG Sector institutions have been instrumental at implementing a range of interventions in line with the Sector Policy and strategy. Government and its development partners supported implementation of an array of governance initiatives. Sector institutions aligned their strategies to the sector priorities up until the expiry of the Sector Strategy in 2017.
At the expiry of the Sector Strategy, the Ministry of Justice through the EU funded Chilungamo (Justice and Accountability) Programme embarked on an effort to develop a successor DGSS aimed at sustaining a coordinated justice system in Malawi. The review of the sector strategy in 2016 was done to track implementation progress in terms of the Strategy’s design and content; legal and policy framework; funding mechanism and resource flow; coordination mechanisms and structures; monitoring and evaluation; and key challenges.
Due to demand for relevant and up-to-date information, the DG Sector with support from the EU through the Chilungamo (Justice and Accountability) Programme initiated modalities to conduct the Justice and Democratic Accountability survey which was aimed to establish the impact and effectiveness of various interventions made since the adoption of the DGSS. The survey was also intended to generate up-to-date data on both justice and democratic accountability to inform development of a successor DGSS, priority setting, the nature of interventions and strategies for improving democratic govrnance in Malawi.