Malawi to Adopt First Ever Adult Literacy Policy in 2019

Regional Director of DVV International David Harrington speaking at the Public Consultation on the Draft Adult Literacy and Education Policy

Malawi introduced adult literacy programmes in 1985. Thirty-three years down the line, however, the initiative has been running without a guiding policy. But this is about to change as Malawi has made significant strides towards adopting its first ever policy dubbed ‘Adult Literacy and Life Long Learning Policy’, thanks to support from DVV International. 

Since December 2017, DVV International has supported review of a policy which had been in draft form for 15 years; and has provided technical support to the policy development process drawing from its global experience spanning over 45 years.

On the 25th October 2018, DVV International supported the Malawi government to hold a public consultation workshop bringing together various government ministries and CSOs to input into the policy development process.

Speaking during the opening of the workshop, Director of Community Services in the Ministry of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development Cloltilda Sawasawa said her ministry had been resource constrained to finalize the policy which had been in draft for over a decade. She added that changes in the format of government polices also contributed to the delays. 

She hailed DVV International support and indicated that once in place the policy would help resource mobilization and capacity strengthening of the sector.

“The Policy will provide a more systematic staff development and improve supervision and monitoring as it will have clear benchmarks,” She said. 

DVV international Regional Director for Southern Africa, David Harrington said participation of various actors in policy development processes is key for success.

“This process of policy development that we are participating in here today is an essential step in ensuring that Malawi will have a well-funded, robust and efficient system for the adult education sector.

“A policy is not just a document that emanates from within some government department. It is a living document that belongs to all citizens. It impacts the lives of all people throughout the country. Therefore, it is essential that policy development is a consultative process that involves as many national stakeholders as possible,” he said. 

Participants in the public consultation challenged government to make the most of the support from DVV International and ensure that policy finalisation and adoption is expedited. Participants requested that government make the policy inclusive and develop resource mobilisation and visibility strategies to ensure that implementation does not stall.

Following the public consultation, the Ministry of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development will facilitate a validation meeting where government ministry principal secretaries will provide final input before submission to the Cabinet for approval. It is expected that the policy will be adopted in early 2019.

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