The Directorate coordinates rural development interventions in the country through the provision of policy direction on (a) rural development and interventions and (b) facilitation of the provision of social-economic infrastructure in the district councils. The Directorate has been implementing a number of interventions which include:

1- Coordination of rural development function

(i) In collaboration with other directorates, National Planning Commission, and Ministry of Lands, the Directorate is coordinating development of the secondary cities. The Directorate commenced orientation of councils on the Secondary Cities Programme.

(ii) In line with the Integrated Rural Development Strategy, the Directorate is implementing interventions on Local Economic Development (LED) through programmes such as the Transforming Agriculture through Diversification and Entrepreneurship (TRADE). The Programme is supporting rural livelihoods through investments that support agriculture.

(iii) Enforcement of socio-economic infrastructure development guidelines such as Constituency Development Fund and Water Resources Fund Guidelines. The Directorate has also facilitated development of standard designs to help improve the quality of projects implemented by councils.

2- Social-Economic Infrastructure Programmes

The Directorate is implementing the following programmes:

(i) Rural Growth Centres: This involves construction of selected socio-economic infrastructures in designated RGCs with the aim of reducing rural-urban migration and spurring socio-economic development in rural settings. Two centres have been completed at Neno and Nthalire in Chitipa, and are currently in use. In the second phase of the programme, the Government is constructing works at Chitekesa in Phalombe, Nambuma in Dowa, Chapananga in Chikwawa and Mkanda in Mchinji districts and works are at various stages of completion;

(ii) Construction of Sports Stadia: This programme involves construction of community stadiums. Currently, the Government is constructing stadiums in Zomba, Thyolo, Ntcheu and Mzimba. The completion rates are as follows: Ntcheu Stadium at 95 percent; Mzimba Stadium at 70 percent; Zomba Stadium at 65 percent; and Thyolo Stadium at 60 percent.

(iii) Construction of DCs Offices: The Government has been constructing DCs and Civic Offices in Machinga, Chiradzulu, Thyolo, M’mbelwa and Mzuzu. Machinga and Chiradzulu Offices have been completed and handed over to the respective local authorities. Construction of Thyolo and M’mbelwa offices are at 65% and 60% respectively completion rates.

(iv) Construction of Mzuzu Civic Office: The Government is constructing Mzuzu Civic Office to provide a conducive environment for the city council to deriver public goods and services. The office is designated to have twin towers. Currently, the project is at sub structure level.

(v) Construction of Rural Roads: The Ministry has been constructing roads in different areas to improve accessibility to various social amenities in Balaka, Thyolo and Mulanje. There are plans to construct access roads to connect the RGCs and rural markets already done such as Neno, Nambuma, Mkanda RGCs and Ekwendeni, Enukweni, Nkhamenya, Limbuli and Tengani Markets and access roads to upgrade access roads to Ntcheu and M’mbelwa Stadium.

(vi) Construction of Rural and Urban Markets: The Market Development Programme is designed to create a structured platforms for exchange of goods and service in both rural and urban areas so as improve the livelihoods of people. In recent years, the Ministry has completed the following markets: Mulanje Mission Market (Mulanje); Chinakanaka Market (Mulanje); Msikawanjala Market (Mulanje); Nsanje Boma (Nsanje); Tengani markets (Nsanje). In the coming financial year, the Ministry plans to construct markets at Kapiri in Mchinji and Dowa Turnoff in Dowa.

(vii) Construction of rural water and roads infrastructure: Government has recently allocated financial resources for the improvement of rural sanitation and transportation. The Programme will commence in the next financial year and will involve construction of rural roads and water points by the local authorities.