This program has ended

The VAAM program has ended, but our with civil society in Malawi continues through the Connect, Defend, Act! program.

We work to increase transparency and accountability in society so citizens can hold government and companies to account for their actions. This program (VAAM) will strengthen the capacity of Malawian CSOs, media and selected local government authorities to gather evidence, analyse and publish their findings on public budgets and procurement processes in Malawi. The aim is to make these more viable, inclusive and transparent.

Why we should be looking into public spending in Malawi

Corruption is one of the major challenges affecting Malawi. This takes place at both local and national level. Local authorities in Malawi receive funding from the national budget and public revenue collection streams, but budgeting and public procurement processes in these local authorities remain opaque. This leaves room for corruption. In 2018, the government launched public sector reforms to combat high level corruption and public finance mismanagement. However, oversight mechanisms and institutions such as the parliament, media and the judiciary remain weak. CSOs and media also lack the capacity to use data and ICT to make authorities accountable and to advocate for more transparent and accountable public spending.

How we will enable this oversight

With funding from the EU, and in partnership with the Malawi Local Government Association (MALGA), Hivos will work with civil society organizations, area development committees, media houses, journalists, bloggers, influencers, high-spending ministries, departments and agencies, parliament and local government authorities. We will train them in analyzing and reporting on public expenditure and providing citizens with critical information on public budgeting and expenditure so they are able to effectively hold duty bearers to account.


The project is being implemented at both national and district level in seven districts across three regions of Malawi: Blantyre, Dowa, Mangochi, Ntcheu, Mzimba, Mzuzu and Zomba.

Period and budget

2020-2023: 836,876.71 Euros

Key results

  • The project’s Mzinda Wanga Online Platform created a safe space for local authorities to share reports and for citizens to easily request information on budgets for projects and public purchasing. The platform facilitated over 750 exchanges between citizens and public institutions.
  • Using specially produced manuals on civic engagement and the use of IT in public purchasing, the project trained the Budget and Public Accounts committees (including 40 MPs) and over 200 councilors from the seven districts.
  • More than 2,500 citizens directly demanded information from the seven local authorities.
  • Local authorities are now able to proactively share reports physically and online, engage with citizens and respond to their demands, and publish spending reports.
  • Twenty-two civil society organizations were trained and are now able to advocate for sustainable and inclusive public spending.
  • Specialized training has helped seventeen media houses produce accessible reporting on budget and public purchasing. Including community radio stations among the trainees was very important because they are close to the general public and share local information relevant to their listeners.