A group of volunteers pose for a group photo at Grand Palace Hotel
By Vincent Gunde
It has been established that seven out of the 30 volunteers that provide service to the Generation Equality Worldwide conference in Lilongwe are still crying for the allowances two month after doing a good job well done.
The conference which was held at the Bingu International Conference Centre [BICC] Grand Palace Hotel from 7th to 9th April, 2022 drew international women prominent leaders of Africa including former Liberian President Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleef.
Former President Dr. Joyce Banda, Dr. Patricia Kaliati, Mrs. Emma Kalia, Paramount Chief Kyungu of Karonga and NGO-Gender Coordination Committee members graced the conference aimed at promoting girls as role models in their respective societies.
In the conference, Mrs. Johnson Sirleef and Dr. Joyce Banda as key guest speakers spoke highly on their courage that made them to sail through troubled life to succeed in the lives and above all to become presidents of their countries.
Speaking in a strict condition of anonymity, a source said the volunteers were assigned to perform various roles during the conference which was planned for three days but it was trimmed to two days saying some of them were activists, ushers, dramatists, and information, among others.
The source said it was a very busy conference that led them to work extra hours they spent the whole day with empty stomachs as they were not provided with coupons for meals up to around 9 pm waiting to receive their allowances and transport reimbursements.
She said the volunteers were drawn from Chitipa, Kasungu, Mzimba and Lilongwe, all totaling to 30 comprising of seven men and 23 women saying it pained them most to see an official from Action Aid giving allowances and extra money to the guests while them just looking at the development.
The source said one official from Action Aid angered them most as she told them openly that they were not invited as participants to the conference, they were labeled rude in the faces and this forced them to pay allowances to 23 volunteers leaving behind seven.
……’’We have been requesting for our allowances amounting to K20,800 each but to no avail beside signing the treasury sheets, because of continuing pressing to be given what belongs to us, they have blocked us and we cannot communicate with them anymore,’’…..lamented the source.
She alleged that Action Aid officials known by their first names; Bridget, Babra and Chiku are owing explanations as to where their allowances have grown legs to leading to be blocked from contacts with them as the remaining volunteers not paid.
The source said the conference was Gender Based Violence wondering as this was achieved claiming that the leaders themselves are in the forefront propelling Gender Based Violence as evidenced by their failure to respond to their phones and blocking them.
She alleged that the conference officials wrote proposals to their donors, adding prominent invited guests but when the money comes, they use other names to pocket allowances forgetting those that were already invited.