Skip to main content


ICNL’s resources and information on Malawi.


ICNL works with local partner, the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation to improve the legal environment for CSOs in Malawi. We have provided technical assistance in analyzing the NGO Policy and the NGO Amendment Bill, and our comments assisted local partners in their advocacy and litigation efforts to prevent the restrictive law from passing. ICNL started implementing a new multi-year program which seeks to support the strengthening of civil society’s capacity to respond to civic space restrictions, engage with government institutions to promote the legal enabling environment for CSOs, and improve citizen participation in law and policy making processes.

Flag of Malawi (Graphic Credit: Wikimedia)



In 2018, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Malawi successfully obtained a court injunction restraining Parliament from considering a previous draft Non-Governmental Organization (Amendment) Bill for being inconsistent with human rights standards. This paved the way for consultation between the government and civil society on a new regulatory framework. While positive developments have been made, the 2020 Amendment Bill still contains problematic provisions that could pose challenges to the ability of NGOs and citizens to exercise their fundamental freedoms. Read ICNL’s analysis here.

Civil Society Organization Sustainability Index

The index, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development for twenty years, documents the development of civil society in seventy-one countries around the world, including Malawi. ICNL and FHI 360 work with local partners to produce the index annually.


COVID-19 Resources

COVID-19 Legal Measures with International Standards

Checklist to assess whether COVID-19 legal measures comply with international legal guidance to protect association and assembly rights issued by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Human Rights Based Effective Response to Covid-19 in Africa) and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association (Ten Key Principles to ensure measures respect human rights to association and peaceful assembly).

International Legal Framework Governing Public Health Emergencies

Briefer on the international legal framework governing public health emergencies. It covers existing international human rights treaties that set out the parameters for protecting fundamental rights in times of emergency to assist states in ensuring a rights-respecting response.

Open Government Partnership, Civic Space, and COVID-19

Briefer outlining the Open Government Partnership system and how this approach can help protect civic space during the pandemic. It provides examples that enable individuals and organizations to review new measures, share concerns directly with law and policymakers, and continue to protect fundamental human rights while controlling the pandemic.

Malawi Government Responses to COVID-19

This overview outlines measures introduced by the Malawian government to address the coronavirus pandemic, noting instances where a measure has restricted or may restrict civic space.