Local councils

Reforms in city, municipal, town and district councils are targeted at enabling them to deliver the expected services to the citizenry in an efficient and effective manner, without relying on the Central Government for financial resources, especially when decentralisation is fully implemented.

The primary role of Councils is to provide effective, efficient, and sustainable socio-economic services that will improve the livelihood of people through creation of conducive, enabling operating environment enhanced by good governance and community participation in order to achieve social economic growth and development.

Functionality of Councils in Malawi is largely provided for in Section 146 of the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi, Section 6 of Local Government Act 1998 (Amendment 2010) and Section 6 of the Malawi Decentralisation Policy (1998).The Local Government Act mandates councils to:

  • Make decisions on local governance and development for the district;
  • Promote infrastructural and economic development through District Development Plans;
  • Consolidate and promote local democratic participation; and
  • Mobilize resources within and outside the district.

Click to view achievements in the implementation of reforms in local councils

The following are the general reform areas for Councils:

  • Local Governance
    The Objective of the Reform Area is to promote transparency and accountability in implementation of community functions through community participation, enhancement of transparency in management of development projects, strengthening of decentralized structures (Development Committees), implementation of the service charter, development of a communication strategy and review of By-Laws in order to change community’s mindset and eliminate corruption and fraud.
  • Local Resource Mobilisation and Financial Management Systems
    The objective of the reform area is to ensure that public resources are allocated and spent on priority areas and identify new revenue generation ventures through promoting Private Public Partnerships (PPP) i.e. Outsourcing of Services like security; introduction of e-Ticketing; introduction of banking service within council premises; and introduction of Toll Gates.
  • Improvement in Human Resource Management
    The objective of this reform area is to ensure that there is adequate human resource both quantitatively and qualitatively in order to implement council programmes. This reform area will done through:
    • Rolling out of Individual Performance Agreements (IPAs), introducing bi-annual assessments (feedback sessions).
    • Putting in place human resource development programmes through proper staff inductions and mentorship.
    • Introduction of hardship allowance in hard to reach areas.
  • Environmental and Waste Management Services
    The objective of this reform area is to mitigate environmental degradation through promotion of catchment management plans and formulation and enforcement of by laws. Councils will focus on reducing environmental degradation through catchment protection:
    • Promoting natural regeneration and afforestation /re-afforestation through community nurseries;
    • Implementation of co-management mechanisms of forests with the community;
    • Development of management plans and formulation of By-laws;
    • Through outsourcing, introduction of innovations in waste management to produce manure and energy, and construction of purpose made waste dumping sites.
  • Infrastructure Development and Management
    The objective of this reform area is to: facilitate construction including school blocks, health facilities, office houses and blocks; rehabilitate and maintain infrastructure such as roads and markets; enhance service delivery and promote socio -economic developmental activities.
  • Improvement in Health Service Delivery
    The objective of this reform area is to improve access to health care services and; improve maternal and neonatal health service delivery through promoting Antenatal Clinic (ANC) attendances by pregnant mothers and deliveries by skilled health personnel; promoting smooth referral system for obstetric and neonatal cases.
  • Urban Planning and Development
    The objective of this reform area is to produce urban land use/urban structure plans which will assist to accelerate orderly district planning. This will be done through development and implementation of layout plans, extension of Town/city council boundaries, sensitisation of community on land registration, implementation of land law (2016) on chief’s role in land administration.
  • Agriculture and Household Food Security
    The objective of this reform area is to improve agricultural productivity and increase the variety of food available at household and community levels through the promotion of climate smart agriculture in drought prone areas which will ultimately foster dietary diversification and promote small scale processing plants for value addition.
  • Improvement in Water services
    The objective of this reform area is to increase access to potable/safe drinking water through formulation of by-laws on protection of Forest reserves which provide potable water. Furthermore, Councils will focus on piloting alternative water supply technological options to reach areas where boreholes are not feasible.
  • Improve the quality of Education services
    The objective of this reform area is to enhance education quality through:
    • Redeployment of teachers to understaffed schools to improve the pupil /teacher ratio in schools by bridging the gap that exist in schools.
    • Capacity development of teachers by conducting Continuous Professional Development(CPD)in order to improve pass rate in the Malawi School Certificate Examinations (MSCE), Primary School Leaving Certificate (PSLC), and selection rates.
    • Introduce standardised district certifiable examinations and zone mock examinations at senior classes.
    • Introduction of Curriculum tracking system to ensure that teachers deliver what is expected.
  • Fisheries Services
    The objective of this reform area is to sustainably increase fisheries and aquaculture productivity. Reform area will focus on development of small scale fish farming, Capture fisheries development (Inland Fish Farming) and promotion of modern techniques of fishing.
  • Disaster Risk Management
    The objective of this reform area is to prevent disasters where possible and strengthen disaster preparedness through enhanced Early Warning System, construction of multipurpose safe havens, provision of search and rescue equipment and building river dykes and re-routine of rivers to reduce flooding.
  • Information and Communications Technology
    The objective of this reform area is to enhance transparency and accountability by disseminating information to the public through, among others, the development of the Council website; newsletter, documentaries, and functional district database.
  • Population Growth Control
    The objective of this reform area is to introduce interventions (communication and contraceptive uptake) to curb the issue of population growth and lowering fertility through integrated family planning services and advocacy programmes. Promote small family concept will be encouraged through participatory child control by-laws guidelines based on National Population Policy.
  • Devolution
    The objective of this reform area is to implement complete decentralisation of some sectors, e.g. Police services, Education, Health, Youth and Sports, and Tourism through:
    • Provision of clear decentralisation frameworks and planning guidelines/tools;
    • Rolling out of the Reforms and guidelines at ministerial level to the downstream;
    • Provision of technical and policy support from the Ministry of Local Government on urban development and governance.
  • Promotion of Tourism
    The objective of this reform area is to promote untapped tourism potential from the historical and scenic endowment available in councils by establishing necessary facilities for recreation and cultural heritage. Therefore, councils intend to promote cultural heritage and ecotourism by:
    • Developing Tourism Plans and Heritage Strategic Plans;
    • Urban renewal and conservation of the old historical buildings, parks; introduction of public beaches; recreation facilities along the lakeshore districts and in the mountainous places such as Mulanje and Zomba.