Citizen leaders in Malawi eager to work on community organising

In April 2010, Idasa’s iLEDA programme completed the last week of the iLEDA School citizen leadership training course in Malawi. 29 out of 30 participants graduated. They are community leaders from the Mangochi and Zomba areas. However you look at it, these participants, mostly just matric graduates, had been asked to learn a lot during the four weeks of training.
by Amy Eaglestone
The iLEDA Schools course teaches the participants skills, knowledge and values through which they can improve community organising. A number of abstract and concrete issues are covered, including ethics, conflict resolution and advocacy, but also local government structures and project planning. To put their new found competencies into practice, each participant is expected to hold an awareness campaign for their community.
Besides the above, participants also grow as a group, learning to trust one another and work together, encouraging and supporting each other along the way. On the final day of the training course in Malawi students expressed their wishes to keep in touch.
“Coming together is just the beginning, staying together is actual progress” is how one participant in Malawi put it.
The participants all agreed that their role from now on is not only to implement their new skills and knowledge but to encourage others in their communities to adopt their new approach as well. Starting a movement to change and strengthen the way civil society deals with community issues. To do this, they all agreed, they needed each other’s support.
This view is not just shared by Malawian participants; it is shared among most former training course attendants. The wishes and needs of these former participants to keep in touch and support each other in future endeavors is how the idea of the iLEDA Alumni Network was born.
This network is now being designed to offer a platform to alumni and their organisations for sharing information and experiences. The core of the network will be built around a number of innovative and more traditional communication tools that are widely available to all members.
By tapping into each others and iLEDA’s resources graduates will empower each other to address the challenges they face as active citizens, with the support of the iLEDA community. This continued support and development means that the impact of the training courses is enhanced and extended.
Building long term relationships with former participants and their organizations also means that iLEDA has the opportunity to engage members of the network in monitoring and evaluation and improving the effectiveness of our programme.
One participant from Malawi concluded a discussion on this topic, remarking appropriately “The movement we are creating should […] produce a network of alumni, organizations and community organizers that keeps our work alive!”
In the coming months the iLEDA Alumni Network will be carefully designed and implemented to offer hundreds of alumni, CBOs and other NGOs an independent networking platform in support of democracy.

One Response

  1. I am Victor Chikwesele, one of the 2010 graduates from Zomba. This training was really effective and that I for one have been assisted to the extent that I am able to talk to some government ministers. However, we really need to consolidate and work as a team for meaningful contribution.

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