YONECO has urged newly oriented Radio Listening Clubs under Open Contracting project in Mzimba district to take lead in ensuring transparency and accountability on developmental project being implemented in their communities.

One of YONECO’s Programme Support Managers, Dunreck Pande, made the remarks during an orientation session of RLCs in Mzimba district.

The sessions, were aimed at orientating club members on how they can record radio programmes on contracting and procurement in their communities.

“What we want to do in this project is to ensure there is accountability and transparency within the council (M’mbelwa) on contracting and procurement issues.

“The community needs to know how project money is being used,” he said.

Pande said government has about 80 percent of its annual budget that goes direct to projects that require procurements, but said about 40 per cent of the money is misappropriated.

He explained that some malpractices occur in course of procuring services and goods, hence the need to empower the community members to start engaging duty bearers on where they can obtain documents on different local projects at council level for civic engagement.

The Programme Support Manager said through the formation of six radio listening clubs in the district, members will be empowered with necessary skills of engaging service providers. The skills, according to Pande, will also help members of the listening clubs to conduct formative researches regarding projects which are currently taking place in their localities.

It is expected that with the engagement of service providers, transparency and accountability on procurement processes will be enhanced to benefit citizens at local level.

Speaking in an interview, Titemwane Radio Listening Club Chairperson, Nayisoni Zimbili said the training was an eye opener.

“We did not know a lot of things that have been taking place. But through this training, we have learnt a lot and we will be able to make follow-ups and record radio programmes on the same for the benefit of our communities,” explained Zimbili.

YONECO under Open Contracting Project which is being funded by HIVOS, has established and trained Katolonje, Edingeni, Kazomba, Tovwirane, Musinthe and Titemwane6 radio listening clubs in radio programme production.

Once the programmes have been produced, they will be aired on Mzimba Community Radio Station as well as on YONECO Radio.

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