Mkuzi very appreciative of Milimo project
Partners in Action for Sustainable Development (PASD) is one of the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) with which Creative Centre for Community Mobilization (CRECCOM) is working under Milimo Local Capacity Building Activity in Malawi funded by USAID. PASD is an organization that is working in Machinga and Zomba districts. In Zomba, the organization is working on ECD and entrepreneurship interventions.
Several capacity-strengthening activities were done through an assessment by CRECCOM which PASD received under Milimo Local Capacity Buiding Activity in Malawi. Through the Milimo project, the Milimo team identified several gaps within PASD that needed to be addressed and resolved. For PASD, systematic gaps were identified in terms of its organogram and how they treat and appraise its staff members and coordinate with other organizations of similar interest within the district of Zomba and outside the district.
“Before the Milimo project by CRECCOM, we were just working. We did not have formal documentation, but after capacity-strengthening efforts by the Milimo project, we were told how we can develop MoUs for our organization. So every relationship or networking effort is well documented. We have a MoUs signed with all the partners we are working with. Some of them are CSOs and others are institutions of learning” said Nenani Mkuzi, who is the Resource Mobilization and Partnerships Officer for PASD.
Mkuzi said that a capacity-strengthening activity was done by CRECCOM under the Milimo project to help PASD initiate many partners to enhance its programming and also for the organization to acquire different skills and knowledge on how best they can document their interventions in their areas of expertise.
After the capacity strengthening assessment, a series of training was organized by the MIilimo project. For example, training on how they can develop Human Resource manuals, appraisal forms, and how appraisal systems can be undertaken. Then appraisals were conducted on PASD staff and even interns to assess their performance
“There was no clear pattern for assessing the performance of PASD staff. The appraisal forms for the first cohort of our interns were developed and were complied to achieve the documentation aspect which PASD acquired under the Milimo project,” said Mkuzi
A two-day training was also done on how PASD can draft the Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) and enhance partnerships with other organizations within and outside Zomba district. Currently, PASD has MOUs with different partners that are from diverse backgrounds like CSOs and institutions.
For example, PASD has partnered with the Domasi Institute of Management which benefit from PASD’s internship opportunities for its students.
“We also benefit in terms of the skills and expertise that the interns bring to the organization. Before the partnership with the institutions, we only had one officer who was responsible for all the schools in 4 Traditional Authorities that comprised 93 ECD centers that were supported by the financial muscles that we have,” said Mkuzi
Mkuzi said that the coming in of the 19 interns, has helped to help the organization to able to allocate 5 schools ECD per intern which is now easing the tension of work and has improved the productivity of PASD as an organization.
“The presence of the interns has also assisted PASD to be able to mobilize community members for their different project interventions to meet their mission and vision,” added Mkuzi
Royalty College in Liwonde, SOS College in Lilongwe, and Domasi Institute of Management and Technology.
PASD started with a cohort of 9 interns from the Domasi Institute of Management and Technology which was in a cohort for 3 months. In the second cohort which has just started in April 2023, 19 interns have been drawn from 3 colleges.
Marvelous Chidule from Blantyre is a student at Loyalty College in Liwonde studying Nutrition Systems, Security, and sustainable development and doing an internship at PASD.
“Our chair lady at Loyalty College is the one who contacted me that there is an internship opportunity at PASD following their MoU with the organization,” said Marvelous
As an intern at PASD responsible for the ECD sector, Marvelous has learned quite a lot of skills and knowledge that have assisted her to advance her education and professional development.
“At first, it was very difficult to practice monitoring and evaluation in my field of expertise. After starting my internship here at PASD, I have learned how to monitor and evaluate different projects like ECD. This will help me to practice out there in different organizations and now I am very proud of myself because of it. I have also learned to be committed to my work, and conduct data collection in hard-to-reach areas as the ECDs that were allocated to me are very far from each other,” said Marvelous
On the side of the caregivers at the ECD, Group Village Head Malakamu said that since the caregivers are not well trained, the coming in of the intern at the ECD has helped to sharpen their teaching skills with children at the ECD.
Mkuzi said that the coming in of the interns at the organization has also helped PASD to be able to mobilize community members to take action in their communities and contribute to the development of the well-being of any child.
Clementina Banda is also another intern at PASD and has expressed how the internship program at PASD has enhanced her education level. She is from Domasi Institute Management. As a field assistance intern, Clementina was assigned to focus on women's empowerment at PASD
Clementina monitors a group of women who bake scones. She does encourage them to be working together as a group so that the initiative can benefit their families financially.
“I do monitor women in the community of Malakamu on their day-to-day businesses and empower them. As an intern, I have learned how one can bake scones,” said Banda
One of the members of the group, Ellen Norman said that at first, she used to face challenges, when she sells the scones