In addition to focusing on oversight functions and the expected role of MPs, other aspects of the workshop involved exploring the concept of good governance and how it relates to sustainable development by examining the link between strengthened budgetary governance and improved economic growth. MPs also learned more about Malawi’s National Agriculture Policy and the country’s Growth and Development Strategy as well as the link between policies and budgets, how this relationship should ideally operate, and what happens when budgets are not in line with policy.
In the two years since the project’s inception, parliamentary focus has most been on the Agriculture Committee and supporting staff but going forward - until the project’s end in 2023 – the two additional committees, ie, Natural Resources and HIV/AIDS and Nutrition – will be invited to participate in all activities.
Increasing the capacity of the parliamentarians is only one of several key result areas of the project. The media has also received training with the goal of stimulating a deeper understanding among journalists of agricultural and food security issues and activities are ongoing to promote media coverage through different channels. Likewise, other opinion-makers such as civil society organisations are the subject of interventions, and the project includes interesting initiatives to increase the voice of rural masses and their participation in agriculture, nutrition, and environmental governance, for example, through community radio and radio-listening clubs.