We are partnering with local civil society organizations in Malawi.


We are strengthening the capacity of civil society to improve access to public services, including healthcare, education, environmental protection, and clean water, and partnering with the Malawi Parliament to strengthen transparency and accountability.


STEPS engages local organizations across Malawi. Most of the partners operate nationwide or in multiple districts, with administrative offices based in Blantyre, Chikwawa, Lilongwe, Mangochi, Mzimba, and Zomba districts.


We are enhancing the effectiveness of civil society organizations through organizational capacity development and service delivery grants, while ensuring sustainability through a cascading model that trains organizations to train others in effective service delivery.


One of the poorest countries in the world, Malawi faces a myriad of challenges relating to health, education, governance, agriculture, and climate change. A strong civil society is needed to advocate for policy reform to address these challenges and work with the government to co-create lasting solutions. While Malawi’s civil society sector is visible and vocal – as of 2013, more than 600 organizations were registered in country – funding challenges, capacity limitations, and other obstacles have hampered their ability to deliver impactful and sustainable solutions. 


Counterpart’s STEPS project ensures the development of a capable, effective civil society that will contribute to national development, achieve positive results, and remain accountable to the people of Malawi. The project works directly with local civil society organizations across the country, helping to create stronger responses to some of Malawi’s most urgent needs, including HIV/AIDS and malaria and most recently parliamentary support aimed at strengthening effectiveness of legislature to carry out its oversight, legislative, and representation functions.  


Since its launch in 2014, STEPS has assisted our partners – both CSO and government – to make the following improvements in service delivery, ensuring that the needs of Malawian citizens are met in a more timely, effective, and sustainable manner. Key accomplishments include: 

  • 6 partners have graduated from the STEPS program, meaning that they have improved and built their capacity in a meaningful, measurable way, and are now better positioned to receive direct funding and grow their programs successfully and sustainably. Another 6-10 CSO partners are on track to graduate in 2019.  
  • 12,084  people living with HIV were enrolled in Antiretroviral Therapy 
  • 42,113  people living with HIV received community-based health services 
  • 80,204  people received behavior change messaging designed to slow the spread of malaria 
  • 122,299  people received instruction on improving water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) practices 
  • 444 villages improved their WASH practices and were verifiably free of open defecation 
  • 351 people with disabilities benefited from social protection services 
  • 6,448 people reached with information on disability rights  
  • 341 people with disabilities received referrals for other services to improve their well being 
  • Budget and legislative research manuals were developed to guide parliamentary staff in budget analysis and legislative research.  
  • 30 parliamentary staff trained on research and budget analysis. 
  • 6 Short Term Technical Experts placed in the budget, legal, and research departments of Parliament to enhance their technical capacity 
  • 6 policy analyses on parliamentary bills and documents were prepared to aid members of Parliament make informed decisions and engage effectively during the committee sessions and floor debate 

Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals


Funder: United States Agency for International Development (USAID)