UNDP Project Document

         Sustainable Development Networking Programme (SDNP)

                                              in Malawi

Last modified on Friday 6 March 1998

UNDP Project Document (PRODOC)
Sustainable Development Networking Programme (SDNP)
in Malawi


Document prepared by:

Dr. Joseph J. Uta, UNDP SDNP Consultant,

Librarian, Chancellor College, University of Malawi, Zomba

Richard Labelle, Consultant, UNDP SDNP, Hull, Canada

Lilongwe, Malawi

6 August 1995




1. Description of sub-sector.

2. Host country strategy.

3. Prior or ongoing assistance.

4. Institutional framework for sub-sector.


1. Problem to be addressed at the present situation.

2. Expected end of project situation.

3. Target beneficiaries.

4. Project strategy and institutional arrangements.

5. Reasons for assistance from UNDP/executing agency.

6. Co-ordination arrangements.

7. Counterpart support capacity.















J. PPENDICES. APPENDIX Sources of funding

APPENDIX Background information on computer mediated communications and glossary

APPENDIX Benefits of computer mediated communications and of the Internet for development

UNDP Project Document (PRODOC)
Sustainable Development Networking Programme (SDNP)
in Malawi

Brief project description

The SDNP helps countries implement Agenda 21 by facilitating access to information about sustainable development and by encouraging participation in decision making for sustainable development. It aims to involve all stakeholder groups in this process.

The SDNP will help Malawi develop the capacity to do this and to acquire the information, know how and technology to implement appropriate solutions for sustainable development and to share this with stakeholders throughout the country. SDNP will enhance the capacity of stakeholders to use computer mediated communications, including the Internet, for this purpose. It will do this through training and the provision of some equipment to encourage users to connect. SDNP will also help develop an Internet connection. SDNP will also develop an information server on sustainable development and encourage participants to use the SDNP server and to contribute and share information as well through the server.

The project will also help enhance the capacity for open and participatory decision making processes, and will strive to have a role in encouraging local and community based involvement in sustainable development.




 Sustainable development is development that meets present needs without affecting the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

 Country context

Malawi is a landlocked, densely populated country in the Eastern and Southern Africa region where approximately 10 million people live in an area of about 120,000 km2. 20% of the country is covered by surface water resources dominated by Lake Malawi. The climate in Malawi ranges from semi-arid to sub-humid. Agriculture, the primary means of subsistence and the mainstay of the economy, is largely rain fed.

The lack of capacity of many Malawians to meet their basic needs as far as food, primary health care, education and employment are concerned, along with a booming population and weak institutional structures, are some of the main reasons poverty persists and is increasing with approximately 60 % of the rural and 65 % of the urban population now below the poverty level.

Environmental degradation is of the main results of and reasons for this. This vicious cycle is a major obstacle to sustainable human development in Malawi. This situation persists in spite of an increase in macro-economic GDP from 0.5% in 1987 to 7.8% in 1991. A number of reports highlight this situation, including: "Collaborative programming for Poverty Alleviation" and "Situation Analysis of Poverty in Malawi" (GOM/UNDP, 1993).

 In June 1994, Malawi completed a comprehensive participatory review of the key environmental concerns facing Malawi. The resulting National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP) identified the following key issues:

The consequences of not addressing the above environmental problems will be further environmental degradation which will hamper sustainable development in Malawi. The rural and urban poor stand to suffer most from this situation, and especially women, children and female headed households.

Malawi is a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and is a member of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

Rapid political transition is ongoing and this has resulted in rapid democratization. A multiparty political system prevails and democratic reforms are ongoing. This is leading to liberalization of the telecommunications sector and greater sharing of information. Freedom of information is protected by law.

 There are four main urban centres in Malawi: Lilongwe, the capital; Blantyre, the economical centre and largest city; Zomba, a centre for research, agriculture and education; and Mzuzu, the most important government and commercial centre in the North. All are linked by telephone.

 Malawi telecommunications policy is currently undergoing rapid change. This may include eventual liberalizing of this sector of the economy. Relatively good telecommunications infrastructure links the main cities, but rural communications at the district level are not as well developed.

1. Description of sub-sector


1.1 National development strategies and objectives (adapted from the NEAP Malawi participated in the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) and has produced a National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP). This has been prepared in pursuance of its constitutional responsibilities and in response to the agreement made at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

 The NEAP should be used as a reference document to guide development activities and to ensure that environmental considerations are integrated into development programmes.

1.2 National Environmental Action Plan In order to integrate environment and natural resource management issues in economic planning, Malawi has developed an institutional structure comprising both sectoral and cross-sectoral agencies. The Ministry of Research and Environmental Affairs (MOREA) was constituted with wide ranging functions for overseeing, directing and coordinating environmental affairs (p31 of the NEAP Action Plan, Volume 1). Line ministries implement environmental management in coordination with MOREA as per the NEAP.

 Role of the SDNP

 The SDNP could have a role to play in helping MOREA in its task of coordination in the sectoral ministries and throughout the country in the districts.

Lack of information has several impacts on the state of the environment, and especially the ability to manage natural resources. The following examples taken from the NEAP document underline this issue and show where the SDNP could have a role to play.

 The NEAP identified the lack of access to information on sustainable agricultural practices by the very poor. This explains why the poor, who represent 60-65% of the population, about 6-6.5 million people, have heavily discounted future income and pursue sub-optimal social consumption patterns, leading to environmental degradation (p 36 on the NEAP Action Plan).

There is little information about the costs of environmental degradation (p45). There is little information regarding appropriate silvicultural management, particularly in the area of seedling production and tree planting (p45).

 As far as fisheries are concerned, there is inadequate information on fish resources to formulate guidelines for sustainable management of the resources (p51).

 The Government of Malawi has identified several actions to address environmental issues. The following are directly relevant:

In order to empower local leaders in biodiversity conservation, the Government of Malawi will give local communities the authority, power and knowledge to act so as to care for their environment and to participate in the management of protected areas (p 82).

 In order to empower women in decision making, the Government of Malawi will raise public awareness of women's rights in decisions affecting the size of the family (p86).

The Government of Malawi will, through the appropriate authorities, and the National Library Service and NGOs (p 89):

- Develop local environmental information centres to cater to the information needs of researchers, scientists, decision makers at all levels, development workers and rural communities;

- Promote the sharing of resources through national networking in order to strengthen institutions in environmental programmes;

- Develop links with International Environmental Information systems such as Infoterra, the Global Environment Monitoring System (GEMS), and others;

- Consolidate, analyze, repackage and publish data and information from computer network operations at ministerial and departmental and non-governmental organizations levels regrading a variety of parameters indicative of environmental trends in Malawi;

- Improve communication patterns with communities and various organizations and other countries, in order to explore ways of promoting sustainability and self reliance of projects.

The Government of Malawi will disseminate public information and raise environmental awareness.

The Government of Malawi recognizes the importance of certain cross cutting issues that have implications on institutional responsibilities and organizations. MOREA will be responsible for implementing an Environmental Information System (EIS) in order to implement the NEAP.

1.X Capacity 21

Role of the SDNP

The SDNP supports the Capacity 21 programme in Malawi. Capacity 21 focuses on environmental issues. While Capacity 21 is therefore concerned about the environmental dimension of development in Malawi, sustainable development, and the SDNP, are concerned about related issues.

These issues include the linkages between the environment and the economy. Other issues related to social and human welfare and development, and to the human environment in general, are also important and cannot be divorced from sustainable development. Priorities for sustainable development in Malawi are addressed in the relevant national plans, including the NEAP.

The role of the SDNP is to promote sustainable development by helping inform decision making on priority issues. SDNP also acts by enhancing the capacity of elements of civil society to participate in the development of these plans and their implementation. This empowerment of the actors or stakeholders for development and sustainable development, is key to the SDNP concept.


1.3 Information culture In 1995, after wide ranging debate, Malawi adopted a new constitution. The constitution enshrines the principles of political pluralism and elections by secret ballot for a parliament and for the President. The new constitution affirmed freedom of expression.

These developments promote openness, debate and the free flow of information. They justify more information sharing, among the various stakeholders for sustainable development and elements of civil society in general, and especially the government. These developments are encouraging for the SDNP. Most developing countries, and especially those in Africa, have not enshrined these rights nor recognized their importance for development. During the present feasibility study, many individuals from all sectors have voiced the need for greater information sharing and networking. Many felt access to the Internet is a priority.

At present, over 700 end users subscribe to the University of Malawi 'UNIMA' FidoNet computer network. At present, there are a few hundred users in Lilongwe and some of the regional centres and districts where there is telephone access. The vast majority of the population have little concept of informatics and telematics. For them, freedom of the press may not be immediately significant.

In spite of the above, the rate of adoption of computer mediated communications in Malawi is among the highest in the region, with about 3 new connections established a week on the UNIMA FidoNet network.


1.4 Information for decision making: needs A significant information gap exists in Malawi on issues related to sustainable development and environmental management in general. Decision making on environmental issues has not been based on up to date data because this has not been collected regularly. Time series are not available and benchmarking is made all the more difficult as a result. Another problem is the lack of ability or capacity to communicate readily with regional, district and local authorities.

Although some environmental monitoring has been carried out, there is little available environmental data. There is no state of the environment report (SOER) per se in Malawi, although the National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP) does deal with some of these issues. Remote sensing technologies need to be more widely used for monitoring and collecting data on the environment.

MOREA is responsible for meeting these needs and for coordinating research and data collection for this purpose. Already, and Environment Information System (EIS) node has been established within MOREA offices and is contributing to strengthen capacity in environmental management and state of the environment reporting. The resulting data and information need to be more widely disseminated.

Malawi has an extensive network of libraries and research centres. The Chitedze Agricultural Research Centre and Bunda College of Agriculture (University of Malawi), along with an extensive network of agricultural research stations in the country, are important resources.

These institutions maintain important libraries and collections of data on agriculture and the environment, as well as socio-economic data. The Forestry Research Institute of Malawi (FRIM), has an important collection of data and information, as well as national expertise, on sustainable forest management and forestry in general. Malawi is the forestry coordination unit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The National Herbarium and Botanic Gardens is the national focal point for the Convention on Biological Diversity and has a mandate to conserve natural resources, especially botanical resources in the country. It has a rich collection of information and networks extensively in the region and around the world with other centres of botanical expertise, such as Kew Gardens and New York Botanical Garden. This information needs to be more widely disseminated within Malawi.

The University of Malawi undertakes biological, agricultural and demographic research and has important information resources on these subjects. The University of Malawi networks extensively with other research and academic institutions in the country, the region and worldwide. It maintains strong working relationships with the other national institutions mentioned here. This networking needs to be enhanced and strengthened.

Accessing information relevant to the state of the environment, on current trends and policies regarding sustainable development world wide and in the region, as well as in Malawi in particular, is a challenge.

Given recognition by the Government of Malawi of the need for sharing information in local languages, obtaining and being able to share information in these languages will be important.

Local information is essential, along with regional and international information. Given the advent of computer mediated communications, there is an opportunity of helping Malawi develop and/or access these resources for national development and sustainable development. There is a need to catalyze the advent of these developments.

The strong tradition of agricultural research, in support of plantation crops initially, and now cover a wide range of agricultural and forestry commodities, processes and practices, means that there is a solid knowledge base.

Knowledge resources include people, their expertise, experiences and other tools that help translate information to understanding and action. Significant agricultural research has taken place in Malawi. This has generated much valuable information including indigenous knowledge resources such as locally developed and adopted or adapted technologies, practices, experiences and solutions.

Conventional mechanisms of sharing information, such as the media, correspondence and face to face meetings, will continue to be important. With computer mediated communications, and especially the existing and impending developments in telecommunications and networking infrastructure, it is also possible to readily share news, views, data, information and knowledge with and among users and providers of information around the country and around the world in a timely fashion.



¨ Present situation : Voice grade telephone services are available at most institutions, but the telephone network is sometimes unreliable. International telephone communications are available from the main urban centres in the country. These are expensive, with rates of about USD 3 / minute to all destinations outside the region for example.

There are three satellite earth stations in the country. A radio based rural telecommunications system exists to link outlying areas. The possibility of liberalized telecommunications, should this include the telephone system, could open the way to lower costs and improved performance and the spread of the telephone system.

¨ Future plans : Modernization of the telecommunication infrastructure is a priority of the present government. Given the availability of telecommunication facilities and level of computerization of main potential SDNP users in Malawi, there is a high potential for the success of the SDNP project.

The Government of Malawi plans to provide services that will require the fastest growth rates of all SADC countries: a 25% per annum rate of growth (BMI TechKnowledge. 1994. Communication Technologies Handbook 1994. p62). Telecommunications policy development in Malawi appears headed in the right direction. However, a clear written policy on telecommunications is needed especially in the view of current changes regarding the laws and decrees on the role and responsibility of the national operator. A clearly stated Government of Malawi policy is also needed on private sector participation in the telecommunications sector. It is hoped that the current changes will lead to a liberalisation of the sector, with a clear separation between the operator and a licensing body.

Projections for 1995 are the following: the total exchange capacity will rise to 58,000 lines. Annual growth in the number of telephone lines is expected to reach 10% in 1995. Extension of existing telecommunications infrastructure needs to be done by:(1) increased exchange automation, (2) increased number of exchange connections, (3) increased access to rural areas (5) increased digitalization and (5) introduction of public data services (6) construction of another satellite earth station for international traffic. A number of these are under serious considerations and/or are already being carried out by the Malawi Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (MP&TC).

In rural areas, radio assisted telephone communications exist. The MP&TC is also being courted by and/or considering several regional and international projects to increase connectivity with the world and in the region.

Existing Networks in the country

In Malawi the computer industry is still young. Most of the big names ( IBM, DEC, ICL, etc.) are present in Blantyre. There are very few local area networks (LANs). Those that do exist are not interconnected or linked to outside networks or wide area networks (WANs). Those that are, including UNDP, use store and forward communications software for exchanging files with remote computers over the telephone lines. These systems are based on FidoNet, UUCP or proprietary telecommunications packages such as the Higgins mail system used by UNDP for example. The UNDP Higgins system is not connected to UNIMA even though it is Internet compatible. At present, the World Bank offices are not connected.

Several government departments, parastatals and public companies, the private sector, NGOs and donor organizations use a variety of these technologies. Most lack maintenance and adequate technical support. They also require substantial system management. Unfortunately this area is still very under developed.

There are two main categories of networks in Malawi: private networks, either LANs or WANs and publicly accessible networks. Most of the private networks are based on the Novell network operating system, with a Novell server and workstations.

There is no existing public interactive access to the Internet. Such access has traditionally been achieved within the region by introducing expensive but low speed leased lines to South Africa. There is also now the possibility of installing very small aperture satellite (VSAT) terminals to achieve better connectivity speeds at lower costs.


VSAT technology needs to be seriously considered for the introduction of international Internet access in Malawi. Planned improvements to the telecommunications system, including digitalization and introduction of public data services (X.25) in Malawi would significantly improve potential Internet access in Malawi.

Of particular interest to the SDNP are the publicly accessible computer networks. These are described here (see the glossary and introduction on computer mediated communications for more information on these and related information technology terms).

FidoNet (and Internet)

FidoNet is a hierarchical store-and-forward computer networking technology that provides electronic mail and file transfer. Users on FidoNet are capable of exchanging mail and files with the Internet using the telephone system. There is no existing public interactive Internet access in Malawi.

The University of Malawi operates UNIMA, a nation wide publicly accessible FidoNet computer network. Store-and-forward e-mail and file transfer access to the Internet is achieved by batched connections through a gateway in South Africa. Users in Malawi using either IBM compatible PC's or Macintoshs send mail and files within Malawi as well as to the Internet via the UNIMA node located at Chancellor College in Zomba.

Other Internet access such as file search (Archie etc) and file transfer (FTP) and Gopher are available using the store-and-forward e-mail access to the Internet. Many users currently use these facilities to locate and get files from servers on the Internet and other networks linked to the Internet and FidoNet.

UNIMA uses MP&TC infrastructure for FidoNet and Internet access. Users on the network must dial into the UNIMA node in Zomba to send, receive and exchange mail. Local telephone calls in Malawi are relatively inexpensive. The Zomba node places or receives international telephone calls to send and receive Internet mail. There are three telephone calls per day from the Southern Africa NGO network (SANGONET) gateway in Johannesburg.

These provide the main international Internet access for users on UNIMA. One other network node calls the node in Zomba: the USAID TRADENET network from USA, usually at the rate of a call a day. Email transfer on UNIMA relies on calls originating from abroad in order to reduce operating costs by taking advantage of lower telephone costs in countries abroad.

Users on UNIMA currently pay very modest fees for international e-mail access to the international networks. There is a fixed charge of MK 10 per user account per month (USD 1= MK 15). Each user is also charged MK 1 per kilobyte of data transferred internationally. There is no charge for data transfer within Malawi. These low charges were put in place to (a) encourage network usage, (b) to recover international mail transfer costs as well as (c) for basic equipment maintenance. They are too modest to cover staff costs.

There are between 650 and 700 users in more than 100 organizations on the UNIMA network who make active use of the system. Appendix B ### shows the list of FidoNet point installations currently available under UNIMA.

Most users on UNIMA desire fully interactive Internet access for better information searching and exchange. The services on UNIMA would therefore be greatly enhanced under SDNP if such interactive Internet access can be one of the outputs of the SDNP programme.

Although such access has been put in place in the region using leased lines, such connections are known to be very costly yet achieve low connectivity speeds. A system based on leased lines could be too expensive for most Malawian users and organisations. The possibility of using a direct satellite connection using VSAT technology would provide better access speeds at a lower cost affordable to most Malawian users.

The UNIMA network has benefited considerably from funding by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) which funded the East and Southern Africa Network (ESANET) project as well as the Capacity Building in Electronic Communications in Africa (CABECA) programme managed by the Pan African Development Information System (PADIS). Recently, financial, equipment and technical assistance have also been provided by the World University Service of Canada (WUSC) and the Canada Fund.


The BBS systems are locally based and may also have international connections through store-and-forward technologies. Some of these BBS systems may also have Internet access. InterAccess is the only BBS currently available in Malawi, providing access for a limited time after hours. This BBS does not currently support Internet compatible electronic mail and file transfer. UNIMA supports Internet email and file transfer for all InterAccess users.


There are currently no X.25 services in Malawi. The Malawi Posts and Telecommunications Corporation will reportedly introduce a nationwide X.25 network in late 1995.

Private Networks

Foreign and UN missions in Malawi have small in-house private installation for electronic mail and file transfer. The UNDP, USAID and other such missions operate such networks. These are not connected to the UNIMA network. However the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) have recently been connected to UNIMA.





The feasibility study sample and the level of use of UNIMA suggests many users are computerized. There are 700 end users in UNIMA from 150 organizations.

2. Host country strategy and programmes

The Government is committed to sound environmental management and endorsed the agreements reached during the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992. MOREA is a coordinating ministry.

The telecommunications sector is being restructured and may open up to more liberalization and services under the MP&TC.

Government policies encourage an open market economy.

3. Prior or ongoing assistance

Capacity 21 project support in Malawi

UNDP is funding the Capacity 21 project which aims to build capacity to integrate sustainability, improved intersectoral coordination and environment management issues into the development process.

Capacity 21 also seeks to enhance national capacity for sustainable development. Regarding the SDNP, the Capacity 21 project will help to enhance the human networking necessary for computer networking to be useful. Capacity 21 will do this by strengthening institutional linkages between MOREA and other ministries by supporting joint intersectoral collaboration with the technical planning units in key ministries.

Similarly at the regional level, Capacity 21 will emphasize strengthening links between regional economic planning, physical planning, and other relevant state structures and NGOs. At all levels, the aim is also to improve intersectoral coordination mechanisms.

UNEP Infoterra

SDNP will work closely with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Infoterra activity. Infoterra is a global environmental information referral service operated for several years by UNEP. Infoterra has developed several Internet applications and shares similar objectives with the SDNP. UNDP and UNEP have agreed on a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that means they will collaborate as much as possible. The Infoterra national focal is located at MOREA. This will mean that the SDNP will have the opportunity of working closely with the Infoterra. SDNP will help enhance Infoterra connectivity.

At present, there is no direct telephone line to the Infoterra node and they are not directly connected to UNIMA through their own user id. Access is through a connection at the USAID funded Malawi Environmental Monitoring Project (MEMP) domiciled at MOREA.

Networking activities

Africa Internet Forum

Several regional and Africa wide initiatives need to be mentioned. The Africa Internet Forum (AIF), an ad hoc grouping of donors, has recently been established. UNDP, the World Bank, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and possibly others have agreed that Internet access is important for development in Africa. It is considered a tool that can enhance development. The SDNP needs to continue to remain aware of AIF developments.



Building on the experience and success of the earlier pilot projects, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada has made USD 800 000 available for a three-year project which started January 1993. The Capacity Building for Electronic Communications for Africa (CABECA) project will promote computer mediated communications throughout Africa. CABECA aims to have an impact in 34 African countries. It will be executed by the Pan African Development Information System (PADIS) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

CABECA will work with local hosts to build a strong base of users in each country. UNIMA is the CABECA node in Malawi. CABECA hopes to accelerate national network development to help share the cost of acquiring interactive access to the Internet.

4. Institutional framework of sub-sector


The Ministry of Research and Environmental Affairs (MOREA) is the Government institution responsible for the development of a national strategy for sustainable development.

The Malawi Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (MP&TC) is responsible for telecommunications.


1. Problem to be addressed

¨ The lack of access to relevant information in local languages and in other languages on the state of the environment, on current trends and policies regarding sustainable development world wide and in the region, as well as in Malawi in particular, means that policy makers, legislators and the public, as well as key stakeholder groups, are not as aware as they could be of priorities to be addressed and of ways to best address these problems, and of the resources and expertise available to solve these problems.

¨ There is much information in Malawi, but this is not always well collated nor always readily accessible. The SDNP feasibility study identified some of the key information resources relevant to sustainable development in Malawi. The SDNP project itself will continue to do so and to characterize these resources.

¨ Participation and intersectoral coordination are problems that need to be addressed before effective communication and information sharing can take place. The nature of participatory processes that would allow stakeholders a say in the development of appropriate policies and practices for sustainable development is not clear. This is not surprising in a country that has just had its first free elections. This means that policies and legislation may not yet reflect the needs of all stakeholder groups, especially those at the local and community level.

¨ There is a lack of public awareness of the principles and practices of sustainable development as they relate to Malawi. Thanks to an active press, these concerns can be addressed by helping the media to be better informed and networked. These are a prerequisite for creating an enabling environment for sustainable development. A first step is to influence attitudes in order to change behaviour among stakeholders and the public in general. Enhancing connectivity is a way of helping journalists and other opinion leaders using the SDNP to become better informed on sustainable development in Malawi.

¨ There is growing awareness of and capacity to use tools for computer mediated communications such as Bulletin Board Systems (BBS), electronic mail and electronic conferencing, and other similar applications, as ways of facilitating collaboration and information exchange. There is a need for spreading awareness and capacity in the public sector and to the rural areas in Malawi.

¨ Access to the telecommunications network in rural areas is limited and needs improvement.

2. Expected end of project situation ® The SDNP Steering Committee and the SDNP Coordination Unit established and functional.

® The SDNP Malawi node connected, operating and offering training to users and other trainers.

® Several representatives of stakeholder groups, including members of the Steering Committee, trained in the use of computer mediated communications and connected to the SDNP/UNIMA node at Chancellor College.

® At least nine nodes linked to the SDNP/UNIMA server through the Chancellor College network, including one established in MOREA in Lilongwe.

® A self sustaining mechanism or commitments for ongoing support in place to support the continued operation of the SDNP.

® The media and opinion leaders better informed about sustainable development in Malawi.

® Over the longer term, the project will lead to greater awareness, greater access to information for sustainable development, and better decision making for sustainable development.

As support to the NEAP and the Capacity 21 initiative, SDNP will also have helped to achieve the following outputs:


I. SDNP will have contributed to supporting the development of environmental units within the line ministries and helped to network these to facilitate the NEAP and the Capacity 21 programme in Malawi;

II. SDNP will have helped strengthen environmental management capacity at the level of the provinces, districts and communities through the relevant organs of civil society and the state;

III. SDNP will have helped improve donor coordination.

IV. SDNP will have contributed to the recognition and the facilitation of the participation of local communities in natural resource management, giving particular attention to the role of women.

V. SDNP will have helped users share data they collect for databases necessary for improved environmental management and will have helped put in place a mechanism to ensure that these remain updated;

VI. SDNP will have helped develop public awareness;

VII. SDNP will have helped to enable the teaching of environmental and sustainable development values through the educational system in Malawi.

3. Target beneficiaries

Various stakeholders in development will benefit from this project, in particular the following:

In government, the ministries responsible for the following areas are the main beneficiaries: environmental affairs and natural resources, agriculture, fisheries, forestry, wildlife and national parks and protected areas, women's and children's affairs, education, health, disaster planning and relief, tourism, information, posts telephone and telecommunications, and planning and finance.

Among the community of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the following have been identified on a preliminary basis because of their wide ranging and relevant activities and knowledge: Council of NGOs of Malawi (CONGOMA) a parastatal that coordinates NGOs, an NGO of NGOs; the Coordination Unit for the Rehabilitation of the Environment (CURE), a recently created environmental umbrella NGO dealing with coordination and information sharing among the NGO community around the country; the Christian Service Committee of Churches in Malawi. There are likely to be others as well.

The private sector

Several organizations of business professionals have been identified and some have shown interest and participated in meetings of the feasibility study team including: the Malawi Chamber of Commerce and Industry; the Malawi Investment Promotion Agency (MIPA); the Malawi Institute of Management (MIM) a World Bank project of Malawi; the World Bank; the Reserve Bank of Malawi and the Commercial Bank of Malawi; and the Malawi Union of Savings and Credit Cooperatives Ltd.

As a result of the feasibility study, it is clear that the SDNP-Malawi should be an inter-disciplinary facility, disseminating information at the following three levels:


Ø Decision-making level: demand at this level is mainly found in governmental institutions including MOREA, the Ministry of Agriculture, and other government ministries. Information needs at this level can be specific and could include a need for information on management practices, policies and regulations relevant to sustainable development. Information on natural resource management and experiences from elsewhere, for example from Zimbabwe on the management of national parks for example, could be very important to Malawi.

Information on overseas markets, non-tariff barriers, pollution standards, pollution abatement methods and clean production technologies could also interest the private sector. The relationship between the greening of consumers and international trade and sustainable development would also be directly relevant.

Information on the state of the environment continues to be needed. There is a need to enhance basic telecommunications infrastructure to permit headquarters, regional and district level officers in the Government of Malawi, and especially MOREA, to communicate.

Ø Research level : demand at this level is mainly found in some government departments, research and academic institutions and some NGO's. Information needs at this level are wider and include all issues related to sustainable development.

Ø Awareness level : demand here comes mainly from MOREA; and NGO's, including NGOs working in environment, development and health; local and community groups; grassroots organizations and religious groups. Information on news, views, opinions, calenders of events and directories could be very important at this level. There is a need for Malawi based NGOs to work more closely together in collaboration with the Government of Malawi and especially MOREA in its role as a coordinating agency.

4. Strategy and institutional arrangements

4.1 Strategy :

The strategy adopted in this project is to create an open structure for managing the SDNP that will foster consensus decision making processes and develop the SDNP node in Malawi.

An ad hoc advisory group that could eventually be part of the SDNP Steering Committee has been meeting while the SDNP feasibility study was ongoing. This ad hoc advisory group is made up of key representatives from different sectors of the economy and of civil society. It has helped focus the study on the most feasible options for the SDNP.

This ad hoc group has benefited from the participation of the following organizations: UNDP, MOREA, the University of Malawi (Bunda College of Agriculture, Chancellor College, the Polytechnic), the Data Processing Unit of the Ministry of Finance, MIPA, Malawi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, MIM, the Department of Energy, the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development, MP&TC, National Library Service, Department of Human Resources Management and Development, CONGOMA, CURE, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), and the National Herbarium and Botanical Gardens, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the World University Service of Canada (WUSC).

The ad hoc group has helped secure valuable feedback and participation during the feasibility study.

The eventual SDNP, helped by the Steering Committee, will encourage support from government and other actors in sustainable development as well as ensure close coordination with on-going programmes. The SDNP Coordination Unit and the Steering Committee will work together to help the project raise awareness among decision makers of the need for sustainable development. The SDNP will focus on national networking and access to the Internet and the creation of a national information server on sustainable development. It will encourage greater use of the existing UNIMA FidoNet network.

The intent of this endeavour is to increase connectivity and communications between key stakeholders and to encourage and help develop appropriate participatory processes in support of sustainable development. Together, these objectives should lead to better informed decision making.

Informed decision making leads to greater awareness of options, resources and/or experiences needed for developing appropriate solutions for sustainable development.

For a wider discussion of the benefits and advantages of using computer mediated communications, refer to Appendix ###.

Specifically, informed decision making leads to:

. Better ability to learn from existing experiences, especially at the local and community level;

. Less duplication of effort;

. Better use of existing and sometimes limited resources;

. More timely interventions;

. More consensus.

These in turn, lead to better identification of needs, resources and a better idea of priorities. Together, these lead to better development plans and programmes, and more effective and efficient executions of plans and policies, as well as greater stakeholder support.

In order to ensure its sustainability, a resource mobilization mechanism is incorporated into the project design, so as to catalyse funding of the processes that are developed. This is an essential and basic principle of operation and a key strategy for the SDNP. SDNP must start thinking of becoming self sustaining from the onset of the project.

A priority for the SDNP operation will be to market the SDNP idea. For this, and for the reasons given above, the SDNP will develop a business plan.

The SDNP will not participate directly in the creation of large databases, a role that others can better deal with. Instead, the SDNP will seek to enhance connectivity between database developers and users.

For the purposes of this project, MOREA is the executing agency and is responsible for manning the secretariat of the SDNP Steering Committee. Chancellor College of the University of Malawi in Zomba, will house the offices of the SDNP Coordination unit. MOREA's Infoterra node in the Documentation Unit will be the location of the SDNP offices in Lilongwe. This will ensure that SDNP is closely connected to MOREA. This will also help MOREA to discharge its responsibilities under the NEAP and the Capacity 21 programme.

SDNP will work closely with CURE to ensure that NGOs are directly involved. SDNP will seek secondment of CURE staff to the SDNP node and will establish a server in the CURE offices. Together, MOREA and Chancellor College will provide logistical support to the SDNP unit.

The SDNP will seek close collaboration with representatives of the business community, including especially the Malawi Investment Promotion Agency (MIPA), the Malawi Institute of Management (MIM) and the Malawi Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Blantyre.

4.2 Institutional arrangements : 


MOREA will be the executing institution for the SDNP project. The office of the SDNP Coordination unit will be at Chancellor College, with an office at MOREA and at CURE. MOREA will meet the financial reporting requirements of the project.

Steering Committee

Representatives of key sectors have been identified during the feasibility study. These groups are listed above.

The role of the SDNP Steering Committee is to provide advice, direction and support to the SDNP Coordinator and the Coordination Unit staff, and to review plans, activities and achievements with the SDNP Coordinator. This will be done on an ongoing basis.

The Steering Committee represents stakeholder groups and networks with these stakeholders on issues related to sustainable development in Malawi. It is suggested that the Steering Committee be established in the early stages of the project to help launch the SDNP. An interim Steering Committee may need to be established first.

The Steering Committee will play a major role in guiding and orienting the SDNP and insuring proper function of the activities undertaken by it. The Steering Committee will also have a role to play in long term planning and the achievement of cost recovery.

The Steering Committee does not have direct responsibility for financial management, although it should have knowledge of the financial status of the project. The Steering Committee is the vehicle for reflecting stakeholder participation in the management and operation of the SDNP.

SDNP Coordination Unit

The SDNP Coordinator is accountable to the Steering Committee, and to the executing agency MOREA, and reports to both on an ongoing basis. The SDNP Coordination Unit has expertise in the following areas: an understanding of the national priorities for sustainable development; an understanding of sound management practices, and especially marketing and communications; and expertise in information technology, and especially computer mediated communications.

The job descriptions for the SDNP Coordinator and for the SDNP Information Specialist are as follows:

SDNP Coordinator

Under the direction of the Steering Committee, the SDNP Coordinator will be responsible for all aspects of establishing and managing the SDNP project.

The SDNP Coordinator will be expected to have a very good understanding of the issues related to and main players involved in promoting sustainable development in Malawi and otherwise, a demonstrated understanding of the use of information technology for computer mediated communications, demonstrated and strong managerial skills, have good writing skills, and have good interpersonal and communication skills along with initiative and drive.

The SDNP Coordinator will be responsible for helping to develop, adapt and implement the program of work and a detailed budget based on the approved project document. He or she will be responsible for managing the small SDNP secretariat, for undertaking and/or supervising the ongoing tasks of research and analysis, for making recommendations regarding priorities and the expenditure of funds, and for doing this in consultation with members of the SDNP Steering Committee.

The Coordinator will also be responsible for developing marketing and business plan and/or other plans for the ongoing operation of the SDNP.

The SDNP Coordinator will be an entrepreneur for the SDNP.

The SDNP Coordinator will work closely with the SDNP Steering Committee, MOREA and Chancellor College, the Director of the UNDP SDNP in New York and with UNDP staff in Lilongwe. Ongoing communications will be maintained.

The Information Specialist will be responsible for submitting timely reports to MOREA and others as required, including the Steering Committee and the Director of the UNDP SDN in New York.

In consultation with other SDNP staff, the SDNP Steering Committee and others as appropriate, the SDNP Coordinator will help develop the main programme areas for the SDNP to focus on. This will include identifying local and other sources of information and expertise on issues related to sustainable development in Malawi, and developing a variety of information products and services to disseminate and communicate this information.

A key component of this will be marketing information products and services. The SDNP Coordinator, with the help of the Steering Committee will develop and implement a marketing plan and eventually, the business plan for the SDNP.

The SDNP Coordinator, in consultation with the Information Specialist, MOREA, Chancellor College, CURE and the Steering Committee, will help identify and develop training activities to support the national SDNP. He will work closely with MOREA, Chancellor College and CURE to prepare and deliver national workshops for SDNP members throughout Malawi.

Information Specialist

Under the supervision of the SDNP Coordinator and/or his or her designated representative, the Information Specialist will be responsible for developing and managing the information technology aspects of an operational SDNP node and this will be based on the use of computer mediated communications. He or she will establish the necessary hook ups, acquire and install the hardware and software. He will help train SDNP staff and of SDNP users or members as required.

He/she will be responsible for establishing the SDNP information server. This will be done by searching for and acquiring relevant information, by encouraging SDNP network users and stakeholders to contribute information in ASCII format for example, by establishing electronic conferences through which this information can be shared, and by loading and maintaining this information on the SDNP server. He or she will use various software applications for this purpose, including, where and when appropriate, Internet applications.

The Information Specialist will also be responsible for responding to the needs of SDNP users for information and will search sources in country or elsewhere. When appropriate, searches will be conducted using the Internet.

He or she will have a good understanding of and demonstrated experience using computer mediated communications, especially computer networking. The ideal candidate will also have a good understanding of sustainable development and of the information needs of the user community.

He or she will have the usual communication skills and the ability to express himself or herself in writing and orally in English. Good presentation skills will be very useful. Flexibility and willingness to undertake other tasks as necessary will also be required.

Role of Chancellor College of the University of Malawi

Chancellor College, with others such as MOREA and CURE will provide counterpart support to the project. This includes offices for the SDNP Coordinator and his staff, subsidized housing for SDNP staff, as well as facilities for receiving the SDNP host computer.

Chancellor College will also provide at least two telephone lines for the normal operation of the Coordination Unit: a direct line for the Unit itself and one line for fax. It will be up to other organizations to lease lines to the main node in Zomba or to other nodes, assuming the MP&TC can provide leased line services. For the purposes of the project at this time, at least one other dialin line will be needed for a dial up Internet connection. In this way, users in Malawi can obtain dial up access to the Internet. The SDNP server will be connected to a foreign internet service provider (ISP) via a VSAT connection.

An option to be resolved is for MOREA to consider seconding a staff person on a full time basis to the SDNP. This person would acquire the capacity to operate and maintain the SDNP node at MOREA. This person would be trained under the terms of this project and with the help of Chancellor College.

Chancellor College will also help provide technical expertise and training as part of the local contribution. This will also include the establishment of SDNP nodes, including testing and installing the required equipment.

Implementation arrangements


This is a two year project. Most of the activities will be ongoing ones. Phasing is as follows: the ad hoc advisory group that has already been meeting during the feasibility study, continues to provide input.

Once the project has been approved, MOREA takes the initiative to convene the ad hoc advisory group to a meeting where the SDNP Steering Committee would be formally constituted. The project would be a UNDP project executed by MOREA. The legal standing of the SDNP may have to be reviewed as circumstances change, for example, once UNDP support ceases.

This meeting will take steps to approve the position description (see the description included here) for the SDNP Coordinator and the Information Specialist. The positions are to be advertised in the press and also circulated through electronic and other appropriate channels to encourage expatriated Malawians to apply. All SDNP positions are advertised at the same time to permit the best choice of candidates possible. This will also serve to advertise the SDNP.

The Steering Committee constitutes a panel for the selection process. The SDNP Coordinator, along with the SDNP staff, establish offices at Chancellor College and MOREA. The SDNP Coordinator's main task initially is to establish the Coordination Unit.

With the help of MOREA, Chancellor College, UNDP and the Steering Committee, the SDNP Coordinator and his/her team develop a programme of work that includes cost recovery.

Programme of work


Once the programme of work is in place and has been approved by the Steering Committee, the SDNP Coordinator implements the plan. He/she will become very much acquainted with the needs of the community of potential users of SDNP services. He/she will communicate with them on an ongoing basis. He/she will demonstrate, with the support of the SDNP team, what the SDNP has to offer. Work on the marketing and communications plan that will make up the business plan begins, including a plan for cost recovery. Once this information has been assembled, the cost recovery plan will be proposed to the Steering Committee.


Hardware and equipment purchases

These are to be acquired free of duty with the advice of UNDP. The budget reflects USD street prices in New York city, for computer hardware and software.

The coordination unit in collaboration with Chancellor College, MOREA and UNDP acquires all the equipment for the coordination unit including the VSAT terminal. Chancellor College installs all hardware. The Spark station is installed and linked to the VSAT terminal at Chancellor College and networked with the other servers. The PC server for MOREA is installed and linked to the Spark station at Chancellor College by leased line. Equipment for the other nodes are acquired and installed as soon as possible.

Chancellor College expands the number of dial in telephone lines to permit greater access to the SDNP resources through the Chancellor College network. The SDNP Coordinator and Chancellor College staff responsible for implementing the network establish the BBS functionality of the SDNP server as a first step. This service will expand the email network and could be a way of promoting file sharing and the use of electronic conferencing. SDNP obtains or encourages the production of locally relevant information for loading on the SDNP server at Chancellor College.

The server is set up and linked to the Chancellor College LAN.

The other servers are set up after a host organization has been identified and operators have been trained.

There are three implementing organizations under the SDNP project: MOREA, the University of Malawi and UNDP. MOREA is the location of the Lilongwe node and UNDP DAIS establishes a server for its own use. Chancellor College is the location of the SDNP Coordination Unit.

Training plans and activities

A training plan will be developed for node operators and to meet the needs of users. From the feasibility study, it is clear that there is a need to reach many users, including staff of MOREA at headquarters and in the field, Malawi NGOs, other government departments, the private sector, and others as well.

The University of Malawi, as one of the three implementing organizations, has agreed to provide the facilities for short courses on computer mediated communications in collaboration with the Malawi Institute of Management (MIM).

The University of Malawi has five campuses in Lilongwe, Blantyre and Zomba. MIM is located in Lilongwe. The University of Malawi facilities could also be used for computer training. SDNP personnel could also travel to outlying areas for training.


 This element of the budget is for travel within Malawi. The SDNP will involve four regional centres and at least 6 districts. Travel will be required to each of the 9 installations planned for. Road travel will be preferred and will take place using local transport, and other means where appropriate and where administrative mechanisms permit this to happen. Administrative issues could include obtaining an official vehicle from MOREA. MOREA will work out a transport solution.


The SDNP server

The SDNP staff and collaborators in organizations hosting a SDNP node search for and obtain information that will interest their users and that can be loaded as digital (ASCII) files on the server. Then the host organization, along with the SDNP, market these resources and the potential that computer mediated communications represents.


SDNP Coordination unit

The Coordination unit will need another computer for operations and this will be used by the secretary / research assistant and by the SDNP Coordinator.



To encourage greater use of the SDNP server, modems will be distributed from and by the coordination unit either on a loan basis or sold outright to users. Loans of modems will be provided as part of the project to encourage users to connect. Modem loans should be for a period not exceeding six months after which the user would be expected to either buy the loaned modem or purchase a different one from elsewhere. Availability of modems will be linked to participation in SDNP training.


Business plan

The business plan will be developed from the beginning of the project. To achieve self sustainability or self sufficiency, the SDNP will first need to understand user needs. How to secure support is a consideration that the SDNP Coordinator and the Unit staff will have to be aware of from the start. Ongoing consultations with the donor community to seek their support and feedback will also be essential. This must be undertaken at the same time as efforts to enlarge the user base.

5. Reasons for UNDP assistance

The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) resulted in Agenda 21, a comprehensive plan of action for sustainable development which Malawi adheres to in principle, having participated in UNCED.

UNCED identified UNDP as the lead agency in the United Nations system to help developing countries acquire the capacity to implement the recommendations of UNCED contained in Agenda 21, the global plan of action for sustainable development. UNDP responded with the Capacity 21 Programme and with the Sustainable Development Networking Programme (SDNP).


The SDNP is a Capacity 21 support programme to help developing countries implement Agenda 21 by facilitating access to information to support decision making. SDNP also encourages stakeholder participation from all levels in the steps leading to sustainable development.

Making information available for decision making is key to this process, and to securing stakeholder participation. Providing access to Internet services and applications is a response to a strong felt need identified during the feasibility study.

6. Coordination arrangements

MOREA is responsible for executing the Capacity 21 programme in Malawi over a period of 18 months. MOREA will execute the SDNP and will work closely with the Steering Committee and with the SDNP Coordinator and Chancellor College in so doing.

The University of Malawi, Chancellor College will be the implementing organization, and will coordinate closely with other stakeholders through MOREA and the Steering Committee. Coordination with the Coordination Unit for the Rehabilitation of the Environment (CURE) and the Council of NGOs of Malawi (CONGOMA) and the Malawi Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Blantyre will be essential.

UNDP will review the project as per its own procedures.

7. Counterpart support capacity

MOREA has the capacity to execute this project. Chancellor College has the capacity to implement the project by providing operational and technical assistance and training as well as facilities support.

Chancellor College has agreed to make Dr. Paulos Nyirenda, Head of the Physics Dept., available during the period of his holidays from August to November 1995, to work full time on setting up the UNDP SDNP VSAT and the unix server at the college if this can be approved and funded by this time.

Chancellor College will provide support facilities for the SDNP Coordination unit, including secure space for the computers and an office for the Coordinator and staff.

This will include utilities, the provision of at least two direct dial-in telephone lines. SDNP staff will be accorded the same privileges as visiting scholars, including subsidized housing.



This project seeks to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development by enhancing capacity for informed and participatory decision making by stakeholders for sustainable development at all levels of the economy and society and across Malawi.

This will be done by creating a sustainable mechanism for facilitating access to information and for encouraging increased collaboration, participation and communications and networking between stakeholders locally, nationally, regionally and otherwise.

The project will enhance capacity for using computer mediated communications, and especially the Internet, as a tool for sharing information, experiences and thus knowledge, and for enhancing collaboration in this process.


1 Immediate objective No 1

Establish an organizational mechanism for networking stakeholders for sustainable development in Malawi

1.1 Output 1.1 An active and operational SDNP Steering Committee

Activities Establish interim Steering Committee to advise the SDNP Coordinator. Include the national Capacity 21 Coordinator in the committee, select remaining Steering Committee members; on terms of reference and chairmanship; Formalize the Steering Committee Regular (bi-monthly and eventually monthly) meetings of the Steering Committee to rapidly establish a modus-operandi.

1.2   Output 1.2

An active and operational SDNP Coordination Unit

Activities Hire the SDNP Coordinator and staff of the SDNP Coordination Unit: an Information Specialist and Secretary / Administration; Identify and negotiate with an organization to host and support the SDNP Coordination Unit; Set up the SDNP Coordination Unit; Use outputs from the feasibility study (see the terms of reference for the SDNP feasibility in Appendix ###) and from Immediate Objective 2 to develop a detailed programme of work.

2    Immediate objective No 2

To develop and/or enhance communications and connectivity between the users and providers of information related to sustainable development in Malawi

2.1Output 2.1 An SDNP Malawi Internet compatible computer network with full international Internet connectivity and linking at least 45 stakeholder groups in different sectors throughout the country.

Activities A campaign to raise awareness and to demonstrate the advantages of computer mediated communications; Support and enhance existing computer networks, especially the University of Malawi FidoNet network 'UNIMA' run by Dr. Paulos Nyirenda of the Department of Physics at Chancellor College in Zomba; Develop a high bandwidth (64 kilobytes per second) dedicated telecommunications connection to the Internet using very small aperture terminals (VSAT) satellite technology; Work in close association with the United Nations system in Malawi, especially UNDP Malawi, and with others, including WUSC, and other end users, to increase connectivity; Identify and establish SDNP linked hosts in 9 sites throughout the country (Mzuzu, Lilongwe, Blantyre and 6 district level nodes in locations identified in the Capacity 21 document) and connect them to the SDNP/UNIMA host in Zomba to develop a Malawi wide Internet compatible network; Establish and test dial-in, serial line Internet protocol (SLIP) or point-to-point protocol (PPP) and leased line connections to the Zomba SDNP/UNIMA Internet server; Develop the capacity to use Internet applications on the SDNP/UNIMA server, including email, electronic conferencing (newsgroups), Listserv (electronic mailing lists), logging in to remote CPUs (telnet), file transfer (FTP), Gopher, various information retrieval applications (Veronica, Archie, and others), and the World Wide Web (WWW); Train operators and users; Expand the SDNP by increasing the number of users and by developing the SDNP server; Link users and providers of information and knowledge resources on sustainable development in Malawi through the SDNP network; Provide or loan modems to help users establish a connection; Develop and support local user groups; Establish operational rules and procedures.

2.2  Output 2.2

An SDNP information server on sustainable development in Malawi

Activities Encourage the creation and/or acquisition and/or linking of Malawi information resources, especially electronic sources of information relevant to sustainable development; Encourage users and subscribers to load information on the SDNP computer server and to use Internet applications to share this information as appropriate; Acquire the resources to permit access to this server throughout Malawi by negotiating better terms and conditions of access and by encouraging participants to make best use of their own resources to connect to the SDNP server.

3  Immediate objective 3

Capacity established to use and apply technologies for computer mediated communications for informed decision making

3.1 Output 3.1 A training programme for SDNP hosts and users that will provide introductory and ongoing support;

Activities Identify potential trainees and their needs; Identify existing training activities and organizations with which to collaborate in providing training; Develop training modules; Encourage Malawi institutions of higher learning to develop educational and/or training programmes on computer mediated communications and computer networking; Seek more support for training.

3.2  Output 3.2 9 Operators of SDNP/UNIMA nodes trained and 150 end users trained in computer mediated communications, including Internet compatible applications.

Activities Run five workshops for users and node operators; Provide on-the-job training in collaboration with others (University of Malawi, World University Service of Canada - WUSC and others).

4    Immediate objective 4

To get user and other forms of support, financial and otherwise, to sustain the SDNP

4.1Output 4.1 A business plan, including a marketing and communications plan, laying out a strategy for making the SDNP operation self sustainable.

Activities Characterize the market for information and knowledge resources for sustainable development in Malawi. This is an ongoing activity; Characterize the market for greater connectivity to the Internet and other wide are computer networks in Malawi; Identify key users and providers of information on sustainable development in Malawi; Identify and characterize key information and knowledge resources in Malawi; Develop an understanding of the information needs and circumstances affecting key stakeholders for sustainable development in Malawi; Prepare a plan and strategy to meet these needs in a self sufficient manner, building cost recovery into the operation.

4.2   Output 4.2 A self sufficient SDNP operation in Malawi

Activities Implement the business plan.   5    Immediate objective 5

Develop information products and services, including a full Internet link and SDNP server, that meet the needs and circumstances of stakeholders for sustainable development in Malawi

5.1Output 5.1 A 'Sourcebook' of information and other resources, including people and their expertise, on sustainable development in Malawi prepared and disseminated.

Activities Develop and/or provide SDNP/UNIMA network access to a directory describing key information and knowledge resources that could interest SDNP users; Include information about the key stakeholder groups, their nature, objectives, activities, contacts and other relevant information; Publish and distribute the Sourcebook on Sustainable Development in Malawi by the end of year one and share the output electronically on (an) appropriate SDNP information server(s) or platform(s);

    1. Update the electronic version of the Sourcebook on Sustainable Development on an ongoing basis so that by end of year two, it can be published again in hard copy.
5.2 Output 5.2 Products and services to meet the needs of key stakeholders for sustainable development

Activities Identify and develop products and services to meet the needs of users and of key stakeholders for sustainable development using computer mediated communications; Develop appropriate applications for the Malawian SDNP server; Encourage users of the SDNP/UNIMA network to make available key information in ASCII or machine readable form for access through the SDNP/UNIMA network; Make available and/or market the products and services agreed to.



COORDINATION UNIT OFFICES at Chancellor College, University of Malawi, Zomba and at MOREA, Lilongwe


Office space at MOREA (1 room @ MK 2,000/month)
Office Space at Chancellor College (2 rooms @ MK 2,000/room/month) 
 Conference facilities
 Electricity @ MK 300/mo 
 Water @ MK 100/mo
 Telephones (2 lines)
 HOUSING (Chancellor College)
 2 houses @ MK 4,000/mo 
 1 house @ MK 2,500/mo
(3 months @ $150/day: from Chancellor College) 
1 person seconded for 24 months duration of project and beyond from MOREA
The principal Malawi government contribution will be the provision of office space, subsidized housing and facilities within Chancellor College in Zomba. Chancellor College will provide at least two direct telephone lines, one for the SDNP Coordinator, the other for the SDNP server at MOREA, and it will lease a line to Chancellor College which will house the main SDNP server. MOREA will also cover the salaries and other costs of their designated counterparts. MOREA will hire a person that the SDNP will endeavour to train so that he/she can take over the operation of the SDNP node at MOREA. WUSC will second a volunteer for two years to help operate the node and to train users and operators.

UNDP SDNP inputs

Personnel and contracts

 The project will require the equivalent of three full time personnel: the SDNP Coordinator, an Information Specialist and a Secretary - Research Assistant.


 These are assumed under the SDNP project as per the budget.

The main risk factors here reside with the staff. What is the likelihood of finding competent and capable SDNP staff, and especially the coordinator? What are the possibilities of finding a unix systems engineer to make this work? However, given the fairly high level of usage of computer mediated communications, it is likely that the SDNP, in collaboration with its partners, will encounter few problems in implementation. One risk is that the SDNP will be subsumed under other operations of MOREA or of the Chancellor College

 The usual UNDP reporting procedures would apply here.




The successful implementation of SDNP in Malawi requires installation of a full Internet connection with public access. This implementation requires more funding than the SDNP alone provides. Other sources of funding have been identified in the budget.


Appendix ### identifies these sources as follows:


UNDP indicative planning figures (IPF) funding

Capacity 21

- Expected cost recovery from network usage

- Counterpart (Government of Malawi)

Other sources of funding not listed above need to be identified. MIPA and others in the donor or user community need to be approached.

More support, for example for technical assistance, business planning and other inputs, may be required, particularly in the early stages of implementation. Cost recovery is essential for the success of the SDNP. Help may be needed for the marketing study and the cost recovery plan. The output of such a study may be invaluable to the development of successful business plan.




(2 years)
Sustainable Development Networking Programme


Project personnel


Personnel, SDNP Coordination Unit

- Full time Coordinator (USD 2,500/mo)
USD 60,000
- Training/Information Officer (USD 2,000/mo)
USD 48,000
- Secretary/Operator/Clerical (USD 400/mo)
USD 9,600
USD 117,600

- Official travel in Malawi                                   & nbsp;                              USD     5,000      _____________ Total         USD     5,000      _____________ Total Project Personnel            USD 122,600  



- In-country workshops, training                                  &n bsp;                 USD    37,500      ___________ Total Training        USD     37,500 Equipment


VSAT connection (Zomba)


- VSAT terminal (2.4m)                                                                  USD    26,000

- Hub management: USD 1,600/mo X 2 years                          USD    38,400

- Space segment: USD 2,800/mo X 2 years                             USD    67,200

- Backhaul to Cape Town: USD 660/mo X 24                           USD    15,840

- Maintenance charge (by local operator:

USD 1650/mo X 24                                                                       USD    39,600

- Site survey and installation (2 persons,

USD 750/day, plus travel, per diems)                                 &nbs p;       USD    15,000


Hardware and software

SDNP main node, Zomba

- Sun Spark 20 workstation+ software (2 Gbytes)                     USD   15,000

- Backup Sun Spark 20 workstation+ software (2 Gbytes)       USD   15,000

- CD-ROM players (external SCSI interface)

1: @ USD 750/unit                                      ;                                   USD         750

- High speed modems: 1 Telebit Worldblazers

or equivalent: @ USD 750/unit                                    ;                 USD         750

- Tape backup + 7 tapes                                     ;                          USD         650

- 1 Ciscoe router                                      ;                                      USD      6,000

- UPS: 1 units @ USD 700/unit                                    ;                USD         700

- One Secretarial/Management Desktop DOS computer, 1Gb SCSI, 586 16 Mb RAM, Windows, MSOffice, WordPerfect 6.0,                         USD       4,000 - Laser printer                                     & nbsp;                                         USD       2,000 - Air Conditioner for Sun Spark Workstations                                &n bsp;   USD           750  

9 in country nodes/servers


3 regional nodes (Lilongwe, Blantyre, Mzuzu)


- Three Desktop DOS computer: 2 Gb SCSI, 586 - 90 MHz,

16 Mb RAM, Windows, OS/2 (2)                                               USD      12,000

- CD-ROM players (external SCSI interface)

3: @ USD 750/unit                                      ;                                USD        2,250

- High speed modems: 3 Telebit Worldblazers

or equivalent: @ USD 750/unit                                    ;               USD       2,250

- UPS: 3 units @ USD 500/unit                                    ;              USD       1,500


6 district level nodes (Nkhata Bay, Mchinji, Dedza, Mangochi, Nsanje, Thyolo)


- Six Desktop DOS computer: 1 Gb, 586 - 90 MHz, 16 Mb RAM, Windows, OS/2 (2) @ USD 3000 each                       USD     18,000 - CD-ROM players (external SCSI interface)

6: @ USD 750/unit                                      ;                                 USD       4,500

- High speed modems: 6 14.4 US Robotics

or GVC modems

or equivalent: @ USD 150/unit                                    ;                USD         900

- UPS: 6 units @ USD 500/unit                                    ;                USD     3,000




- One desktop DOS computer: 586, 1 Gb; 16 Mb,

Windows, OS/2                                     &nb sp;                                       USD    3,000


SDNP users


- Modem pool for members with local phone access to hosts:

(14,400 baud, V.32 bis, V.42 bis modems)

@ USD 150/unit X 50                                    &nb sp;                            USD     7,500




- Software for all sites                                   &nbs p;                             USD     1,000  

Office Equipment


- Office furniture (3 desks, chairs, filing cabinet, etc.)

- Photocopier, printing and spare parts

(or access to copier)                                    & nbsp;                             USD     3,000



Operations / Maintenance/ Miscellaneous


- Office space                                     &n bsp;                                           ;                     -

- Maintenance                                    &nbs p;                                          & nbsp;                     -

- Utilities                                                                                &nb sp;                               -

- Secretariat telephone and fax                                  &nb sp;                      USD      2,500

- Office Supplies: laser printer cartridges,

paper, diskettes, cabling, etc.                                  &nb sp;              USD       2,000

- Operating Costs: photocopying, etc.                                 &nb sp;            USD     10,000  



Appendix ###
Sources of financing

SDNP funding will cover the following

Personnel, SDNP Coordination Unit


- Full time Coordinator                   (USD 2,500/mo)                            USD 60,000

- Training/Information Officer         (USD 2,000/mo)                            USD 48,000

- Secretary/Operator/Clerical        (USD 400/mo)                               USD   9,600




- Official travel in Malawi                                   & nbsp;                            USD 5,000  ___________                                         ;                                         Total                           USD 5,000 ___________ Total Project Personnel                USD 122,600  



- In-country workshops, training                                  &n bsp;              USD 37,500 __________ Total Training                         USD 37,500  

Hardware (1 Spark station) and software

SDNP main node, Zomba


- Sun Spark 20 workstation + software (2 Gbytes)                USD 15,000

- CD-ROM players (external SCSI interface)

1: @ USD 750/unit                                      ;                               USD      750

- High speed modems: 1 Telebit Worldblazers

or equivalent: @ USD 750/unit                                    ;             USD      750

- Tape backup + 7 tapes                                     ;                      USD      650

- 1 Ciscoe router                                      ;                                  USD   6,000

- UPS: 1 units @ USD 700/unit                                    ;            USD      700

- One Secretarial/Management Desktop DOS computer, 1Gb SCSI, 586 16 Mb RAM, Windows, MSOffice,

WordPerfect 6.0,                                                                       USD   4,000

- Laser printer                                     & nbsp;                                     USD   2,000

- Air Conditioner for Sun Spark Workstations                                US D      750  

 3 regional nodes (Lilongwe, Blantyre, Mzuzu)

 - Three Desktop DOS computer:




SDNP users


- Modem pool for members with local phone access to hosts:



 - Software for all sites                                  &nbs p;                              USD     1,000

 Office Equipment (or access to copier)                                    & nbsp;                   USD     3,000 ____________ Total             USD     3,000  

Operations / Maintenance/ Miscellaneous

Funding sources


Total expected from SDNP:                                   &nb sp;                USD   231,350

UNDP SDNP New York contribution:                                  &n bsp;  USD   150,000

UNDP IPF (Malawi) :                                    &nb sp;                           USD     81,350


VSAT connection (Zomba)

- Site survey and VSAT installation                              USD     15,000

- 6 months of operating

costs @ USD 6,710/mo.                                    & nbsp;          USD     40,260

- Backup Sun Spark 20 workstation+                          USD     15,000

software (2 Gbytes)

        _____________ Total          USD      96,260
 Funding sources

Total expected from SDNP:                                  &nbs p;                                Nil


UNDP IPF (Malawi):                                    &nbs p;                          USD      96,260


District nodes and servers


6 district level nodes (Nkhata Bay, Mchinji, Dedza, Mangochi, Nsanje, Thyolo)


- Six Desktop DOS computer: 1 Gb, 586 - 90 MHz,

16 Mb RAM, Windows, OS/2 (2) @ USD 3000 each      USD    18,000

- CD-ROM players (external SCSI interface)

6: @ USD 750/unit                                      ;                          USD      4,500

- High speed modems: 6 14.4 US Robotics

or GVC modems or equivalent: @ USD 150/unit            USD          900

- UPS: 6 units @ USD 500/unit                                    ;       USD      3,000

  _____________ Total                          USD    26,400
 Funding sources

Total expected from SDNP:                                   &nb sp;                                  Nil

 UNDP IPF (Malawi):                                    ;                                          &n bsp;    Nil

 UNDP Capacity 21:                                     ;                                 USD   26,400

Expected from cost recovery

 USD 5,000/month based on perceived interest among NGOs (international and local), Government of Malawi, parastatals, academic and research organizations, research and development projects, the donor community, individuals, the private sector and others.

Total expected from cost recovery:

USD 5,000 x 24 months                                    & nbsp;                         USD 120,000


Counterpart support

Expected from Counterpart Support

(in kind)                                      & nbsp;                                         &nbs p;        USD   55,100



DREA. 1994. National Environmental Action Plan. Volume 1: The action plan. Lilongwe:Dept. of Research and Environmental Affairs. 104 pp + appendices.

 Government of Malawi. 1995.

Malawidraft national environmental policy. Resulting from the National Environmental Policy Workshop. May 10-12, 1995. Lilongwe. Lilongwe:MOREA. 34 pp.


CURE. 1995. An assessment of the capacity of the NGO commnity in Malawi to utilise the Global Environment Facility small grants programme. 24 pp.

 UNDP. Government of Malawi. 1994.

Institutional support for environmental management. Component document. MLW/93/005/A/01/99. 22 pp. + annexes.

 UNDP. Government of Malawi. 1994.

Capacity building for environmental support programme. Programme support document. MLW/95/001. 39 pp. + annexes.


Directory of non-governmental organizations involved in natural resources management activities.

 BMI TechKnowledge. 1994.

Communication Technologies Handbook 1994.

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