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Title: Civil society and policy-making in Malawi
Author: Kamowa, Virginia Tracy
ISNI:       0000 0004 2716 8890
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2010
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Civil society organisations (CSOs) are potentially important public policy actors. Those who promote them believe that involving CSOs in policy processes will lead to greater participation of all citizens in policy-making. This is in turn believed to be crucial for promoting a responsive and accountable state. This thesis explores these assumptions by looking in detail at CSO in Malawi and their attempts to influence policy in areas of importance to rural poor people. Two thematic policy arenas were selected for examination: HIV/AIDS and food security policy processes: Using qualitative research methods, the thesis explores and identifies the ways in which different types of CSOs - specifically urban-based advocacy organisations and grassroots organisations (GROs) - sought to influence these policies. In particular, the thesis examines the relationship between urban- based advocacy organisations and GROs and its significance for policy influence. It also .' , explores the relationships between government and CSOs, and donors and CSOs and how they influence advocacy organisations' role. The thesis argues that even though CSOs are an important policy actor, several factors undermine their significance for policy processes influence in Malawi. The research findings indicate that a very small number of organisations undertake policy advocacy. GROs are rarely incorporated in urban-based advocacy organisations' policy influence efforts. There are few structured links between GROs and their urban counterparts. The thesis also argues that the aid donors' focus on a small group of technical advocacy organisations has contributed to a narrowed conception of CSOs. As a result other organisations (including GROs) that could potentially be effective in policy advocacy are left out. This means that there is no mechanism to involve the poor's concerns in policies supposedly made for their benefit. Therefore, the thesis calls for extension of current civil society policy advocacy practice and rhetoric to include grassroots-based organisations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available