Disability Trust Fund launched in Malawi

By Chisomo Phiri

The Malawi Government through the Ministry of Gender, Community and Social Welfare on Friday February 16,2024 launched the Disability Trust Fund (DTF) which aims at creating a funding opportunity for the implementation of interventions to improve lives of people with disabilities.

Speaking at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) where the launch took place,
Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare, Jean Sendeza called for coordinated efforts to ensure continued operation of this Disability Trust Fund.

Sendeza emphasised the need for support and unity to address challenges that people with disabilities face in the country.

Minister Sendeza at the function

She said:”The fund does not have enough resources that is why we are calling for extra support to ensure efficient financing towards disability programs.”

Sendeza said if the country is to attain inclusive wealth for all as per the Malawi 2063 then partnership is the way to go to develop marginalised population.

“My appeal is for all of us to work together to make the Fund a success and reach out to as many people as possible.

“DTF is a tool that will help people with disabilities to be assisted in all programmes. We want the private sector to help in disability programmes and partner with government so that the Fund has resources,” she said.

She described the launch of the Fund as significant to the country in as far as disabilities issues are concerned.

The launch saw some institutions receiving grants as first round beneficiaries of the Fund.

Namitete Secondary School in Lilongwe is one of the institutions which received the grant of assorted teaching and learning materials amounting to K38 million.

The school’s head teacher, Herbert Mmala, said they applied for the grant to ease challenges the school faces in offering inclusive education.

“We applied for the grant because we are one of the schools which offers special needs education services. We have a lot of students with different disabilities and, as a school, we couldn’t cope with the financial pressure to provide for all the students,” he said.

Mmala said the grant will help alleviate challenges the school has been facing in an effort to support students with different disabilities.

Under the Disability Act of 2012, the government introduced DTF and was established in 2020.

The first disbursement of funds was done in the 2022/2023 financial year.

According to the 2018 Population and Housing Census, Malawi has over 1,700,000 people with disabilities.

However, DTF, has in its first year of service, reached out to 2,000 people.