Research in support of human rights activities 

MHRRC strongly believes that good and effective development work is based on sound and through analysis of issues. To this end, apart from developing capacity in research methodologies and skills through training, the Centre has undertaken and support a number of specific research projects aimed at deepening CSO understanding of core issues and ensure that MHRRC and CSO programme activities are contextually relevant. MHRRC research can be broken down into the following categories:

Research commissioned by MHRRC and undertaken in partnership with NGOs:


Examples include Malawi Human Rights Needs Assessment Survey (1999) and Violence and Social Injustice Against Women in the Workplace (1999); Baseline Survey on Gender Based Violence, HIV and AIDS and other related issues in the Kanengo area of Lilongwe.  


Research identified by NGOs but funded by MHRRC:


Examples include Factors Affecting Freedom of Expression in Malawi (Media Council, 2001) and A Survey Analysis of the Juvenile Justice Situation in Approved and Reformatory Centre in Malawi (CEYCA 2000) 


Research commissioned by donor partners and carried out by MHRRC jointly with others:


Examples include Human Rights Needs Assessment Study (Commissioned by DFID and carried out jointly with the UK based International Organization Development- IOD); Various studies Commissioned by DFID for the design and implementation of the MaSSAJ Programme carried out jointly with such institutions as The Institution for Security Studies, ISS- Pretoria, RSA- University of Cape Town); An Analysis of the Poverty and Human Rights Situation in Malawi (2002, Commissioned by Dan Church Aid- DCA and carried out by MHRRC); Mapping out of Case Handling Institutions in Malawi (2000, Commissioned by the then Danish Centre for Human Rights (DCHR), Denmark and carried out by MHRRC)


Despite MHRRC’s achievement, the Centre continues to face the following challenges:


Grant funding

While we learn diverse ways of dealing with new challenges in management of Grants, we only remain a conduit of resources between the donor and beneficiaries and it is not empowering if you compare to our role during the DIHR support for grants. However, the Centre receives funding from Royal Norwegian Embassy in Malawi. The funds are the granted to Community Based Organisations and Networks to enable them implement programmes on GBV, human rights and sexual and reproductive health.


Study Tour Grants

The Study tour grants provided a chance for exchange of information for most CSOs and no development partner has taken up that role ever since DIHR stopped funding that component through MHRRC


Internships and professional attachments

This was a DIHR initiative which needs to be sustained but it has become increasingly difficult for the centre to sustain this because of lack of resources and then it remains erratic. While we continue getting the professional interns from United States of America, Canada and Denmark. Their time, however, has to be shared by two or more institutions leaving us with very little option other than to wait, hence the need to have more local interns than international.


Research in support of human rights activities

Although efforts are being made to source resources locally for research it has again been difficult to proceed with such agendas realizing that we have no budget line for that especially from DIHR.    


Library Services:

The original idea of the Library was really to provide as much information on human rights as possible to University Students, The courts and NGOs dealing with human rights issues. Unfortunately, DIHR pulled out and the center had to go it alone. As things are now, the Librarian who is managing the Library does not have a permanent contract with MHRRC due to lack of resources despite having high patronage of the University students at the Library. MHRRC would like to recommend that DIHR has to revisit that decision of completely pulling out on the Library support  


Coordination of National Networks:

During DIHR support MHRRC had also a budget line on support to networks but now we have to work without any budget and it becomes very difficult to convince our clientele on this.


Participation in Networks:

While participation can be supported to certain extent by external partners it is also necessary to note as a capacity Building organization that we need to be quite equipped in terms of financial resources, the case in point is that of the whole exercise of CIVICUS which is at a stand still since we exhausted the DIHR funding last year, no new partner is willing to take up this imitative.

Training and counseling in human rights and gender and internships


(i)   Training and Counseling


Since 1997, MHRRC has activity engaged in providing capacity building support to partner CSOs through training and counseling. MHRRC has provided advise and counseling to complement all the areas that it has provided training and grant funding.  Advice and Counseling has proved successful largely because it has the advantage of a one-to-one couching which imparts knowledge and skills in a work situation and therefore facilitates learning and development.  Since 1997, MHRRC has delivered over 50 training session with complementary advise and counseling and has built capacity of partner CSOs in such areas as human rights (including the Human Rights Based Approach to programming, project proposal development, project management, finance and budgeting, research skills and methodologies, human rights monitoring, advocacy and lobbying.   


(ii) Internships and professional attachments

MHRRC has been offering attachments and internships to staff members of the NGOs as well as students from the various constituent colleges of the University of Malawi. Under such an initiative, staff from NGOs and students are attached to the Centre to learn specific skills while working with MHRRC officers various projects over an agreed period of time. This has helped to impart skills and knowledge to NGOs staff and University students which they have eventually used and applied in their various NGOs and workplaces.


At the same time, MHRRC has benefited from the attachment of Professional Volunteers from overseas. Since 1997, MHRRC has had the placement of three (3) professionals from Canada through the World University Service of Canada (WUSC) and four Human Rights Officers from Denmark through the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR). Such professional attachments have added value to the work of the Centre by bringing about a cross-fertilization of ideas and international and regional focus to human rights work.



Facilitating networking among human rights NGOs

MHRRC has also been involved in a number of networking initiatives with CSOs and governance institutions within Malawi and the African region as follows:           


(i)   Coordination of National Networks:


· MHRRC has a newly appointed Human Rights Commissioner

· MHRRC is currently  Chairing the NGO Gender Coordination Network (NGO-GCN)

· MHRRC is coordinator for Men for Gender Equality Now (MEGEN) - Malawi Chapter

· 1996 - 2001, MHRRC has been coordinating the Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) - a local Network of human rights NGOs. 

· Between 1999 and 2007, MHRRC coordinated the Network Against Gender-Based Violence funded by GIZ and DFID.

· Between 2000 and 2004, MHRRC coordinated and provided secretarial support to the National Forum of Case Handling Institutions- a grouping of over fifteen (15) governance institutions which was being funded by Danida through DIHR.

· Between 2001 and 2005, MHRRC coordinated and provided technical and capacity building support to the Lilongwe Juvenile Justice Forum which was being funded by Danida through DIHR 


(ii)  Participation in Networks:


· MHRRC is a founding member of the African Judicial Network (AJN) - a grouping of close to 20 African countries from the Anglophone and the Francophone regions of Africa.

· MHRRC is the national Coordinator of the regional CIVICUS’s (World Alliance for Citizen Participation) Civil Society Index Network- an innovative action-research project that assess the state of civil society in countries around the world with a view to creating a knowledge base and impetus for civil society strengthening initiatives.

· MHRRC is an active member of the Southern African Human Rights NGOs (SAHRINGON) Network.

· MHRRC is a member of the Men to Men Regional Initiative as well as the Regional Gender Based Violence Prevention Network

· MHRRC is a member of a SADC Region Human Rights Monitoring, Documentation and Reporting Network.

Internship — Bidding farewell to 3 interns from USA

© MHRRC 2015    -     Trench Media 2015