On September 10, 2014, the AFIDEP team held a meeting with the new Speaker of the Malawi Parliament, Rt. Hon. Richard Msowoya and the Chairperson of the Health and Population Committee, Hon. Juliana Mdamvetsa Lunguzi, to brief them on the SECURE Health programme that AFIDEP is implementing in Malawi. They both expressed a lot of enthusiasm about the programme and its planned capacity building interventions for parliamentary clerks. Hon. Msowoya highlighted the urgent need to build the capacity of the clerks of committees so they can double up as researchers so as to effectively provide timely research evidence to parliamentarians when bills are being deliberated upon.
Some of the capacity constraints that came out strongly during the discussion included the lack of knowledge on existing research evidence on topics related to their committees, and lack of the necessary equipment required to carry out their duties. The Speaker indicated that he’s keen on strengthening the parliamentary structures especially on research utilisation.
Hon. Lunguzi is already an ambassador of research evidence use, and she demonstrates this through her contributions in parliament that are always based on research facts. She has committed to encouraging and ensuring that her team [i.e. the Health and Population Committee] adapts to using research evidence in their work.