By Tione Andsen
Lilongwe, September 15, Mana: National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) Tuesday expressed concern that Presidential Committee on Covid-19 has been left out in the quest to combating the pandemic in the country.
Executive Director for NICE Trust, Ollen Mwalubunju made the remarks during the launch of students, parents and teachers engagement campaign on Covid-19 which will be carried out under the Ministry of Civic Education and National Unity (MoCENU).
He said despite having a well established working base in all the districts in the area of awareness campaigns, the committee has not involved it in its activities.
Mwalubunju said NICE has 9,000 volunteers and 64 professional civic educators who could be properly utilized to disseminate messages of Covid-19 preventative measures using the existing structures.
“NICE is a civic education body whose mandate is to contribute to good governance and democracy through provision of high quality civic educations,” the Executive Director said.
He said in line with its mandate that NICE has in the past 21 years engaged Malawians on several issues so that we have empowered nation that was well informed and contribute meaningfully to democratic and developmental processes.
Mwalubunju pointed out that, “ NICE empowers citizenry through use of many practical strategies and some of them include: capacity building in entrenching service charters, social accountability such as public expenditure tracking, mobilizing them to vote leaders at all levels interfacing with these leaders for accountability.”
He added that his organization has mobilized communities into groups known as Citizen Forums that enhance transparency and accountability at community levels, they are practical spaces for reaching out to citizens and their communities.
Co-Chair of Presidential Committee on Covid-19, Dr John Phuka called for collectively partnership in the fight against Covid-19 in the country.
He said organizations that have capacities to help in the fight need to come forward and work with the committee.
Phuka noted that, “Am very impressed with how NICE volunteers demonstrated on how they are carrying out Covid-19 messages to the communities.”
He said urged all organizations that feels are left out in the fight against the pandemic to come forward to be part of the process.
Minister of Civic Education and National Unity, Timothy Mtambo said the previous administration NICE Trust was not only underutilized but was been sidelined.
He said there was wrong impression that NICE Trust was relevant only during election period.
“As such, a useful resource that it is, Nice Trust has been untapped. My Ministry has noted that NICE about 9,000 volunteers on the ground,” Mtambo stated.