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Power, Politics and Money

Starting in 2014, a consortium of civil society organizations supported by PAI expanded on existing advocacy to increase Malawi’s budget for contraceptives and ensure that funding allocated is spent as planned. The consortium successfully supported champions in Parliament to:

  • Ensure that the MWK 60 million (US $141,210) allocated for contraceptives in financial year (FY) 2015 budget is spent; and
  • Increase the FY 2016 budget allocation for contraceptives by 17%.

In this exciting advocacy win, our partners have helped shift the gaze of the Ministry of Health and Finance away from bilateral and multilateral donors, and onto citizens and Members of Parliament. These citizens and MPs are demanding more financial leadership from the Malawian government, and holding budget-makers to their commitments.  We’re proud to have supported this important work, and share their story in a case study.

This success is particularly important given the recent corruption scandals that have rocked Malawi. The first democratically elected president, Bakili Muluzi, is finally standing trial for stealing $11 million in public funds ten years after holding office. And donors are just beginning to regain confidence in the government’s financial management, following “Cashgate,” an unprecedented $250 million corruption scandal in 2013.

Donor withdrawal after the Cashgate scandals was an important factor in helping citizens and Members of Parliament understand the need to increase the government’s own funding for the national budget, including for contraceptives. Our partners’ budget advocacy was critical in helping to redefine the role of the government in funding contraceptives, and supporting critical services for women and girls in Malawi.

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