Record keeping for good governance, Malawi

The challenges of good governance in Malawi have been underlined by President Joyce Banda’s recent decision to dismiss the Inspector General of Police. It is widely recognised that the restoration of ethical conduct is difficult to achieve if a culture of impunity is allowed to flourish. This is why good record keeping is important – because it provides evidence.

The primary objective of this work was to support colleagues in Chancellor College in their preparations for a Master of Library and Information Science degree (MLIS), especially in the production of teaching and learning materials for the record keeping modules. I completed three workbooks for use by the students. These were devoted to Electronic Records Management; Accountability and Appraisal; and the Relationship between Written Records and Oral Culture. A fourth workbook on the Development of Record Keeping Systems remains to be completed.

The secondary objective of this work was to support the Rule of Law Programme, run by the Government of Malawi with support from the EU. I contributed to this primarily by means of a series of weekly seminars on electronic Records Management in public sector bodies.


Records Centre Malawi jpg

National Archives of Malawi's Records Centre, Zomba, Malawi.


My work in Malawi has confirmed that there is an urgent need for personnel with highly developed skills in the fields of record keeping and information literacy, particularly in the public sector. Very few people from Malawi have gone overseas for postgraduate training in these fields since 1979; and the generation who did is now approaching retirement. Chancellor College intends to employ the best of them in the early stages of the MLIS programme, until full-time academics are available to fulfil this role.

Following on from the fellowship a joint publication with Paul Lihoma, Director of the National Archives of Malawi, is in the process of being written and other publications are sure to follow.

Mr Alistair Tough
University of Glasgow

Alistair was awarded a Study Abroad Fellowship grant in 2011.