democracy,human rights and development
SDI believes that sustainable development is not possible in absence of democracy, human rights, good governance, and justice. Fundamental freedoms, the rule of law, access to justice, the accountability and transparency of institutions, and responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making are essential to achieving the SDGs. It is for this reason that we engage in programmes that promotes democracy, good governance, human rights and elections. The organisation uses Right based Approaches(RBA) and active citizenship in programming of its work. This is in line with SDG Goal number 16 ;"Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all level"
Since 2006, SDI has been implementing the Demokalase Yathu “Our Democracy” programme. The initiative is an ongoing programme aimed at promoting participatory democracy to promote sustainable development. The key component of the programme is to empower the citizens, especially the poor to demand their rights and accountability from those that are in power. The organisation helps to generate knowledge, awareness and learning and engages the underprivileged to take action to address risks/challenges and also demand better services from duty bearers and their leaders. The organization takes the underprivileged through a process of assessments, ranking and scoring, and then helps them to draw action plans and demand better services and accountability from Government, NGOs and Private Sector.
SDI also builds the capacity of Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW), Teen Mothers and Sex Workers in advocating for their sexual reproductive health and rights and demand access to quality SRH and R and HIV/AIDS services . The organizations has also established youth advocacy platforms. Through the platforms it conducts awareness on social, economic and political rights and trains youth on Rights Based Approaches and Advocacy. It organizes face to face/Interface meetings between youth and duty Bearers/ employers. The youth in turn conduct advocacy on issues of a) Youth Participation b) Unemployment c) HIV/AIDS d) Disaster Risk Reduction & Humanitarian assistance e) Environment, f) Corruption & Fraud.
Through the advocacy and lobbying activities the organization has managed to link over 4580 youth to various socioeconomic services like employment, accessing disaster and relief services and taking up leadership roles in their communities. The advocacy has also forced government and other duty bearers to provide answers and also to be exposed and shamed on issues of corruption and other abuse of power. This is making significant contribution to promoting justice at both local and national level in Malawi.
ELECTIONS -SDI has been receiving accreditation from the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to conduct civic and voter education and Elections monitoring for Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government Elections since the year 2009. Over the years the organisation has also carried out a number of programmes and projects.
Demokalase Yathu Project- In October 2007, with support from the government of United States of America through the Democracy and Human Rights Funds (DHRF), DYP supported a radio phone-in programme (Demokalase Yathu) on MIJ FM radio station and established radio listening clubs in five districts. The aim of the programme was to support participatory democracy by providing opportunity for citizens to speak out their views and demand answers on various issues that affect their right to development.
Universities and College Public Lectures Outreach Project- In 2008 SDI received Support from GTZ Forum for Dialogue and Peace. The project was aimed at sensitizing college students in 8 major public and private Universities in Malawi on issues of Conflict resolution and Youth participation in governance issues including exercising their rights to vote. Beneficiaries were students from Bunda College, Chancellor College, College of Medicine, Mzuzu University, University of Livingstonia and Catholic University.
2009 Parliamentary and Presidential Elections Support Project -In May 2009, SDI through its programme Demokalase Yathu got accrediation from Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) and conducted civic and voter education in two constituencies namely; Chikwawa South and Mkombezi Constituencies. SDI conducted awareness and education throuth threatre for development, The success of the project included ; a) Over 98% of registered voters came to vote in the two constituencies; b) Insignificant null and void votes were registered in the two constituencies and c) No elections related violence were recorded in the two constituencies
2014 Tripartite Elections Project - Towards the 2014 Tripartite elections, SDI was again accredited by Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to conduct civic , voter education and elections monitoring in 5 districts of Zomba, Blantyre, Chiradzulu, Chikhwawa and Balaka. Successful civic and voter education and advocacy on electoral reform was conducted. During this period SDI also co-founded the of Mtendere Election Support Network, a registered network of 36 independent, non-partisan Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) which aim at promoting and supporting free, fair and credible elections. Mtendere network was formed on the principles of accountability and inclusivity.
2019 Tripartite Elections Project -In the year 2017, SDI was accredited by Malawi Electoral Commission to conduct civic and voter education and elections monitoring for the coming 2019 Tripartite Elections in Malawi. In the same year, SDI observed by-elections in Lilongwe and Nsanje districts witnessing firsthand the electoral preparations (inspecting polling materials), voting, and counting of ballots. MEC has engaged SDI in all electoral process including; National Consultative Forum (NECOF) meetings, Strategic Planning, Civic and Voter Education, and Monitoring of Elections.
Mtendere Elections Support Network
SDI is a founding member and Acting Chair for the network. Mtendere Election Support Network (MESN) is a registered network of Civil Society Organizations which aims at promoting and supporting free, fair and credible elections. SDI’s Executive Director, is the current Chairperson of Mtendere Election Support Network, The network is also hosted in SDI offices.