Malawi’s greatest need is capable leadership in all the different sectors. Though indispensable, many social and environmental interventions address the symptoms of bad leadership rather than its causes.  Malawi needs a new breed of leadership that is not power hungry but seeks equality for all. We need ethical leadership: leaders who are able to conquer the crisis context; leaders who continually ask questions, probing all levels of the organisation for information, testing their own perceptions and rechecking the facts; leaders that innovate and initiate; leaders who have the capacity to create a compelling vision, get people on board, and translate that vision into action; leaders who have integrity, passion and emotional intelligence.  The centre sees new leadership in untapped population skills and expertise of women and youth. Denying over half of your population opportunities is a human rights abuse and civil society strengthening consult aims to support initiatives reversing this.

About the civil society strengthening consult

Civil Society Strengthening Consult is a registered consultancy service with the registrar of business and its tax number is 30946555. The centre aims to do things differently (mentorship and coaching than workshop). Centre wants to offer value for money.

Our mission:

To anchor CSO’s work in providing targeted and quality service delivery to clients

 Our Vision:

To be a one stop centre for civil society strengthening

About the centre

Our experience and track record working with a multiplicity of government departments, donors, NGOs and UN agencies gives the requisite qualifications, exposure, and understanding of development programmes in Malawi and the Southern Africa region. We believe that our social research, organizational development and management experience in development programmes makes us suitable to make a significant contribution to the work of stakeholders. Boosting of experts trained in a South Africa University, the centre brings extensive analytical skills centered on local knowledge of development issues in Malawi. Our work experience includes numerous consulting assignments in conducting Baselines, Program Assessments, Midterm Reviews and end of program evaluations.

The CCSS aims to strengthen women in leadership related interventions through building the capacity of women themselves and other serving organisations and networks. In 2017, the Centre will focus on the annual theme: ‘Nothing about us without us: Claiming women leadership space and rights through community empowerment and meaningful involvement of key populations’.

Leadership behind CCSS

Viwemi has been involved in supporting democracy in Malawi since 2004. Throughout that time, he has been instrumental in providing technical assistance to political parties, Ministries of Gender and Local government, parliamentary committees, and Malawian civil society organizations, including extensive support for women voter and civic education campaigns and has both international and domestic election observation credentials. From 2004 to 2014, has been part of team strengthening the participation and involvement of women leaders (50/50 campaign).

In 2015, NDI launched a regional project to enhance the inclusion of women in political processes.  NDI selected four countries in the Southern Africa region to participate in project.   These countries include Botswana, South Africa, Malawi and Mozambique.    As part of this project NDI conducted an assessment with the top three vote receiving parties in each country.  The assessment included a desk review of relevant party governing documents including party constitutions and statutes and small group interviews and/or individual interviews with each party. Based on these assessments and focus group discussions NDI found that political parties lacked assessments/audits of women’s political participation to serve as a baseline, there is a resistance to and lack of understanding of the quotas, there is a lack of formal policies, statutes, practices or mechanisms to ensure principles of equality are met, lack of enforcement mechanisms or penalties are in place for non- compliance and recognized social and cultural barriers.

With NDI, Viwemi has continued to be instrumental in implementing the 50/50 campaign post 2014 elections.  NDI, until its closure continued to work with political parties including signing Memorandum of understanding with MCP, DPP and PP.  In December 2015, regional political and CSO leaders met in Johannesburg, South Africa to discuss barriers to women’s participation and propose solutions. As a result of this summit, representatives signed a declaration[1] and action plan that focused on:  removing restrictions on women’s political participation, including restrictions on suffrage and candidacy; increasing the number of elected officials at national and local levels including training and financial support; include women in meaningful leadership positions through the establishment of women’s wings;  and working with other political parties, civil society organizations and other stakeholders to promote women’s participation within political parties.

The initiative sees political parties benefiting from support in between elections to revitalize their organizational structures in particular traditionally excluded groups such as women.

 Previously in 2009, he was part of the drafting team that supported ministry of gender develop 50/50 campaign document. He has also been actively involved in training the candidates running for parliament and councillorship. With GIZ, he was instrumental in the development of the literature for candidates to use as reference material as they run for office. The document was endorsed by Ministry of Gender.

Post 2014 elections, Viwemi has also helped support local councillors especially female councillors develop capacities in participatory budgeting and tracking.

Viwemi has made a number of important contributions to NDI’s social accountability, political parties and local governance approaches. He has always challenged the team to consider new ideas and his latest contribution on the CSO/Ministry of health Audit unit work to identify local needs and advocate to leaders to be more responsive to citizens’ service delivery concerns, is part of the new strategic thinking.

His current and former roles, at UN Women, Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Carter Center, the International Republican Institute (IRI), and Catholic Relief Services (CRS), have highlighted his ability to successfully re-engineer program delivery functions with a focus on efficiency, while implementing state of the art democratic governance best practices.

An ardent fun of decentralization, Mr. Chavula has been pivotal in strengthening relationships between ministries of gender, local government and NDI. Additionally, Viwemi has been instrumental in developing and delivering mentorship sessions with councillors, secretariat staff and CSOs in 13 councils.

Prior to joining NDI, Mr. Chavula’s work primarily focused on the development and management of multidimensional Malawi government ministries through building departments’ capacities to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment. Mr. Chavula provided technical support in helping UN Women secure $2.7 million in funding (over three years) from the Royal Norwegian Embassy (RNE) on Gender Based Governance. Thirty percent of this funding was earmarked for improving the capacity of the women’s caucus in the National Assembly. Before joining UNW, he served as a Senior Adviser (Local Governance) and Knowledge Manager of the Malawi German Program for Democratic Decentralisation.  His practical expertise includes international election observation, political party mentorship, capacity building for women’s caucus and other governance committees of parliament, monitoring for results, developing strategic partnerships and translating research output into actionable innovative strategies for training, advocacy and strategic decisions.

A local governance specialist, Mr. Chavula holds a master’s degree in development studies from University of Free State (South Africa). He also holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Mzuzu University. In 2015, he completed a postgraduate diploma in Monitoring and Evaluation with Stellenbosch University (South Africa). He holds several management, facilitation and leadership certificates. The most recent being a certificate in Essentials of Anti-Corruption. In recognition of his leadership qualities, he was selected to be part of the 1st British Council Interaction program (a high profile Pan African British Council initiative that supported emerging African leaders in 19 countries).

In Liberia, he was part of Carter Centre Long Term Election Observation team for the 2005 historical elections that saw Africa electing the first female president. The Former US President Jimmy Carter headed the mission to Liberia. In 2011, he was part of the Short Term Observation Team and his two-member team was recognized as the most outstanding team of the 2011 joint Carter Center and EISA Election Observation mission.