Malawi Prisons Department to have a new Strategic PlanMar 31, 2014
The Malawi Prisons Department will start a new lease of life after the Democratic Governance Sector Wide Approach Programme - under the leadership of Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs -offered to support the department finalise the development of its Strategic Plan. The offer was made during a joint mission which the sector coordination unit under the Ministry and UNDP carried out to assess institutional capacities in monitoring and reporting among selected governance sector institutions ahead of the rolling out of activities in the Support to the Democratic Governance Sector programme.
The department has operated without a fully developed Strategic Plan since 2008 when the previous one expired. This happened because the exercise to complete the development of a new strategy was halted due to lack of funds.
For almost 6 years, the department has been operating on an unfinished draft strategy document which is devoid of several important components, including costing and budgeting, which has had diverse effects on its operations.
Senior Superintendent and Legal Officer for the Malawi Prison Service, Mr. Bazilio Chapola, shed more light on the situation.
“As a department, we have been using the tools that are within that draft to guide us in our operations. The problem, however, comes on the budgeting system; the draft plan we have has no costing component, which is why we experience financial problems related to poor cost forecasting every year.
“The new Strategic Plan in place will help the department to make sure that its activities are implemented timely as it will help management to easily delegate work to subordinate staff who will have something to constantly make reference to in carrying out their duties.
“As a department, coming up with such management tools is critical to our work as it will promote efficiency and professionalism in delivering our services,” said Mr. Chapola.
The Support to Democratic Governance Sector programme which the Government of Malawi is implementing with support from UNDP is investing about USD45, 000 (about MK 20 million) to support five of the 19 institutions in the governance sector to realign their Strategic Plans according to the Governance Sector Strategy this year.
This alignment is based on the understanding that the sector will be unable to deliver on its stated results as articulated in the Democratic Governance Sector Strategy (DGSS) unless requisite and necessary capacities are built and the enabling environment improved.
“The alignment of the strategies is one way of promoting oneness in the sector to achieve the greater goal of a vibrant and relevant Democratic Governance Sector to underpin the development of Malawi. The DGSS already highlights key results which the sector must achieve and the alignment of the institutional strategies to conform to the sector strategy is one way of achieving the sector’s goals,” said Mr. Terence Malamulo, Programme Analyst for the Support to the Democratic Governance Sector Programme at UNDP.
The alignment exercise has already begun and will involve other institutions like the Malawi Police Service, Youth Net and Counselling and Legal Aid apart from the Malawi Prisons Department. The highly participatory exercise will involve a series of negotiation meetings, desktop and spot reviews on institutions aspirations, and will identify innovative activities and approaches to getting sector results.