Malawi like many other Third World countries is facing a number of challenges in its quest to achieve meaningful socio-economic growth and development. Among others, the country is characterized by high levels of poverty, poor governance indicators, glaring gaps between the rich and poor, food insecurity and high incidences of HIV/AIDS, environmental degradation, and gender inequality. The proper management of natural resources, good governance and respect for human rights are therefore critical if the country is to meaningfully transform the lives of its citizens.
Citizens for Justice-(CFJ), is a non-profit organization advocating for Good Governance, Environmental, Economic and Social Justice in Malawi. Founded in 2005, CFJ was originally established with the aim of filling the lacunae that existed at the time of organizations advocating for the rights of communities affected by environmental challenges emanating from the extractive industries. In the mid 2000s, Malawi shifted its economic focus from agriculture towards large scale mining in order to boost its GDP. This brought in Multinational Corporations like Paladin Energy and Globe Metals that were intent on getting a hold on the country’s minerals at all costs. Since countries rich in natural resources have tended to suffer from environmental mismanagement, poor governance, and higher incidences of conflict, CFJ’s initial interventions were geared at raising awareness of the impacts of the industry towards the realization and enjoyment of Economic, Social and Cultural rights. This was later broadened to incorporate threats to environmental justice in general and a range of related issues affecting local communities countrywide including poverty, corporate abuse, climate change, food sovereignty, HIV/AIDS, and gender inequality, among others. But realizing that these challenges cannot be effectively addressed if government systems are dysfunctional, and with worsening governance indicators, CFJ had to integrate good governance interventions into its programs. We believe that Malawi as a country endowed with abundant Natural Resources, if well managed can transform and meaningfully change the lives of its people if local communities accrue benefit from them. Thus it is within this framework that CFJ employs a human rights based approach to ensure that development furthers the realization of Principles of Equity, Participation, Empowerment, Non-Discrimination, Accountability, Transparency, Rule of Law and Environmental Sustainability.
Our core mission is to speak with and for the poor and the voiceless so that they are part of development processes as CFJ premiers in research, advocacy and lobbying from a rights perspective in promoting Good Governance, Environmental, Social and Economic Justice in Malawi.
CFJ envisions an empowered Malawian society in which individuals and communities have secure access to information, justice and sustainable livelihoods. We are specifically committed to working with and on behalf of the marginalized.