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UN in US$550 000 Border Security Project

By Ernest Mfunya   

                                                

UNDP Portifolio Manager Julie Van Dassen. Pic, Ernest Mfunya

Mangochi, July 27, Mana: United Nations (UN) is expected to roll out a US$550 000 border security and conflict prevention project in Mangochi District to improve capacity of border security in line with Malawi Peace and Unity Act passed by Parliament in March, 2022.

UN made the announcement on Tuesday during a District Council meeting in Mangochi where the UN explained to the Council more on the project and to lobby for the Council’s support during project implementation.

Speaking during her presentation, Portfolio Manager and Governance for United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Julie Van Dassen said the project was looking at conflict prevention and peace building that intends to set up a system apart from responding to a perceived threat.

“At the moment, we are starting in Mangochi and Mulanje but we hope to expand to Machinga, Karonga and Phalombe and eventually we would like to have a nationwide project but that will be determined by the availability of funds,” she said.

Van Dassen said the UNDP would strengthen the technical capacity for monitoring, coordination and community outreach of District Peace and Unity Committees (DPUCs) and increase the capacity of border security agents and community police, including specific focus on treatment of women.

“The project will strengthen data collection and management on conflict drivers, cross border migration, counterterrorism, human trafficking, ensuring women’s participation in community-based conflict monitoring mechanisms and structures,” she said.

 Van Dassen added: “This will be done through specific technical trainings that would be provided by our partners who are specialized in trainings on counter terrorism, intelligence and policing that can assist border security and immigration officials who are working around the border.”

National Unity Officer in the Ministry of National Unity, Faith Iwalani said people should expect sustainable peace and unity in their areas especially around issues of human trafficking, sexual and gender based violence on women and children who are abused in various ways.

“We have seen a number of issues that act as threats to the peace and unity in the country including Mangochi which is bordering Mozambique,” she said.

Iwalani said the Ministry was trying to look at the security of the people, observing that there has not been any serious issues regarding the border, adding that something might erupt creating the need to ensure that nothing happens in the borders,

Newly elected Vice District Council Chairperson for Mangochi, Hassan Chikuta thanked the Government of Malawi and the UN for introducing the project, noting that it would help check security issues that may rise.

He said peace and unity was one of the most important things especially in communities, adding that the council would collaborate well with implementing agencies of the project.

Senior Chief Katuli said the project was timely because Mangochi is one of the tourist destination districts as such peace must prevail and that tourists cannot go to an area where there is no peace and unity.

The Border Security and Conflict Prevention Project is a Sustainable Development Goals Acceleration Fund (SDG-AF) intervention being undertaken by various UN Agencies such as UNDP, UNFPA and UN Women.

The Ministry of National Unity will implement the one year programme in partnership with other UN organizations.

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