Dowa CSO Network
The Dowa Civil Society Organization (CSO) Network was established in November 2014 in conjunction with our Climate Smart Agriculture Project. The aim of forming the network was to address a common challenge in development work, namely poor integration and conflicting activities of organizations working the same area. To this end the CSA project brought together organizations working in the district to employ a collective action impact approach to coordinate the efforts and messaging of projects in the district. This type of coordination of initiatives is novel in Malawi; rather than the status quo of having multiple development organizations and projects working in the same area in relative isolation, it has resulted in collaboration between organizations so that collectively the impact of each project is stronger.
Using GIS technology, a map of the organizations working in Dowa district was created to show spatial overlap and to highlight potential for cooperation. The power of such cooperation has been recognized by the Malawian government, who consults the Dowa CSO Network for district plans and has made membership mandatory for organizations working in the district. Currently the Network includes over 45 individuals from 25 civil society organizations. Network members are actively involved in the development of the Dowa District Social Economic Profile and District Development Planning Framework that will further support coordination of development projects in the area.