LO-Norway's project co-operation with Malawi Congress of Trade unions (MCTU)
About the publication
- Published: August 2020
- Series: --
- Type: NGO reviews
- Carried out by: Trywell Kalusopa, Reuben Sirma Chepkonga
- Commissioned by: --
- Country: Malawi
- Theme: Social services, Human rights
- Pages: 56
- Serial number: --
- ISBN: --
- ISSN: --
- Organization: LO Norway
- Local partner: MCTU
Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU) is the only workers federation in the country. As per 31 December 2018, MCTU has 24 industrial affiliates cutting across all sectors, with a paid-up membership 149 000. The overall goal of MCTU is to promote, defend, protect, unite and strengthen workers and trade union rights in pursuit of social justice of workers. LO has collaborated with MCTU since 1996.
The main purpose of the evaluation was to contribute to further development and project improvement and learning in MCTU and LO-Norway. The evaluation period was 2015-2018, however, according to the ToR the consultant should also focus on issues like organisational sustainability and other internal democracy that go beyond the period.
The evaluation was conducted using a combination of methods. Obtaining information from primary sources was done through virtual tools like skype due to covid 19. Virtual interviews and focus group discussions were held with key stakeholders that included project staff, elected officials, representatives from the Women Committee and Youth Committee, negotiators, organisers and shop stewards. Other stakeholders included the Ministry of Labour and the Employers Consultative Association of Malawi (ECAM).
The report states that the project with its objective of strengthening MCTU’s capacity to organize workers, enhance collective bargaining, social dialogue and policy advocacy, was relevant in the Malawian context. The efficacy of the project was characterized by some delays and lack of achievements, although many outputs and outcomes were implemented within reasonable schedule and achieved their intended purpose. Among the challenges cited were the slow progress of rolling out the database and the lack of an effective tracking and monitoring system of trainers.
The project has had a positive impact on the trade union capacity and knowledge base in terms of organising, recruitment and negotiations, and a multiplier effect of the project over a longer period is foreseen. The impact of trainings is visible in the form of independent and successful negotiators and a substantial increase of Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs). The establishment of women’s committees has contributed to improve women’s decision-making power in MCTU.
The coordination between LO and MCTU and the reporting and monitoring mechanisms were satisfactory. However, there is a seemingly lack of coordination with affiliates and local groups in the implementation of activities. Although some positive steps have been taken towards increased organisational sustainability for MCTU, the report concludes that there is a way to go. Among the cited challenges are donor dependency, lack of financial resources, poor tracking of subscriptions and leadership capacity.
The evaluation report provided many recommendations within areas such as organising, membership systems, gender equality, education, internal governance, financial manage-ment and organizational sustainability. Some of the recommendations are quite concrete whereas others relate to processes that will take several years to complete. Examples inc.:
- MCTU should explore new forms of organising including linking workplace and community issues and reinforced collaboration with likeminded actors.
- MCTU should strategically prioritise sectors with membership potential (such as: public service, agriculture, commercial service, tourism, education, and health)
- The membership tracking system should be rolled out in a more efficient and effective manner among the affiliates.
- Encourage the implementation of gender policies in affiliates and identify potential women leaders.
- Use role models and mentorship programmes in women’s activities.
- Develop an Education and Training Framework that must be linked to the overall results-based monitoring and evaluation of specific programme activities.
- MCTU should come up with a Workers Charter that will spell out the ideological guidance on trade union values and consciousness.
- There should be a shared sense on the need for unions to review their electoral rules, so as to eliminate practice of “in-house horse trading” and “chiefdom” leadership
- LO-Norway could assist MCTU to develop a financing and resource mobilisation strategy as part of the implementation of a sustainability
Comments from the organisation
LO is pleased that the evaluation could take place despite difficult circumstances and change of plan. A follow up plan based on the recommendations has been made, which will be revisited and reported on yearly. LO is prepared to collaborate with MCTU to implement these recommendations, and to increase the funding/reallocate funds where necessary.