Church & Society

Background

Church and Society Programme was established in 1999 as an advocacy desk of the Synod on issues of human rights, governance and democracy. Over time, the Programme has streamlined HIV and AIDs and gender into its activities.
Church and Society Programme seeks to contribute to the creation of a vibrant and God fearing society that upholds the fundamental principles of human rights, good governance, co-existence and democracy.

Mission

Church and Society Programme seeks to contribute to the creation of a vibrant and God fearing society that upholds the fundamental principles of human rights, good governance, co-existence and democracy.

Values

Church and Society Programme is guided by the principles of transparency and accountability, non discrimination, gender equality, love, tolerance, and prayer.

Objectives

The Programme is premised on four objectives, namely:(a) To carry out information dissemination on human rights, governance, democracy and peace building;
(b) To provide a forum for lobbying and advocacy for or against policies or laws that consistent or inconsistent with individual or collective rights;
(c) To initiate and carry out operational research alone or in partnership with others on human rights, governance, democracy and peace building;
(d) To promote networking and information sharing among different stakeholders on issues of human rights, governance, democracy and peace building.

Governance

The Programme is governed by board members that are elected by the Synod General Assembly every four years. They are responsible for policy formulation and direction.

Programmes & Projects

1. Education & Training
Church and Society conducts seminars, workshops and structured short courses in order to mainstream and develop skills in human rights, good governance and democracy for local communities.2. Research & Monitoring
Church and Society conducts research on human rights, democracy, governance and conflict.3. Peace Building
Church and Society provides training on conflict prevention and management through its Paralegal section.4. Economic Governance
As a host to the Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN), Church and Society runs economic governance projects like Budget Tracking.

Facts & Figures

Church and Society has effectively implemented a number of projects that have had tremendous benefits to the communities that we work with. Here are just a few of them:(a) Church and Society initiated and successfully implemented a public awareness project on the role and mandate of selected state institutions, namely: Malawi Human Rights Commission, Office of the Ombudsman and the Anti Corruption Bureau. Accordingly, people were and are still able to engage these constitutional bodies.(b) Church and Society joined forces with other civil society organisations to fight against the Open and Third Term Bills.(c) Church and Society was the first organisation to initiate and implement a constitutional review project on the reinstatement of the Recall Provision into the Republican Constitution. The same issue has come out strongly in a national constitutional review process initiated by government through the Malawi Law Commission.(d) Church and Society initiated and coordinated the implementation of the Elections Project for the 2004 Parliamentary and Presidential Elections under the banner of Malawi Electoral Support Network (MESN).(e) Church and Society has built the capacity of the citizenry promote the participation of the citizenry in development issues from rights based approach. The first phase of the project ran from 2005 till 2007. The second phase runs from 2008 till 2010.

(f) Human Rights and HIV/AIDS Project which goal is to reduce the prevalence and impact of HIV/AIDS among vulnerable groups (women & girls) by addressing underlying causes. This is a joint project with a sister department, CCAP Health.

(g) Anti Corruption Project which goal was to contribute to the creation of an enabling environment where people enjoy their rights through proper use and accountability of public resources by those in authority. It ran from 2005 till 2006.

(h) Decentralisation and Local Governance Project that ran in 2006 and 2007.

(i) Networking through membership to different national and regional bodies like the following:
– Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN)
– Malawi Electoral Support Network (MESN)
– Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) and
– Civil Society Coalition of the Review of the Constitution
– SADC Civil Rights Network

Strategic Priorities

1. Develop Strategic Plan
2. Scale up organisation to meet demand in catchment area
3. Reduce staff turnover by improving Conditions of Service and introducing a staff training & development programme

Contact Details

Mr. M. Mkandawire (Director)
PO Box 112
Mzuzu
Malawi
+265 265 1 311 133
churchsociety@sdnp.org.mw
Photo Credit: AFP PHOTO / GIANLUIGI GUERCIA