Malawi’s female parliamentarians

By Steven Godfrey Mkweteza

BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)-The second deputy speaker in the Malawi parliament Aisha Mambo-Adams  says despite the country formulate policies to promote women participation in development initiatives, the efforts are fruitless  because of poor implementation strategies..

In an interview during a two-day United Nations and parliamentary women’s caucus strategic retreat in Blantyre, Adams observed that women have a crucial role in lobbying for the policy implementation.

“Thecountry is commended for various efforts in gender equality and promotion of women in decision –making platforms. However, the implementation of such efforts are still low because women themselves are not at the forefront to champion the course,” said Mambo

Mambo therefore, recommended the need for the capacity building of the women parliamentarians to champion the skills deficiency gap that is prevalentamong the women in most development initiatives.

“For instance, parliament passed the marriage law long time ago but cases of early marriages are still on the increase. And if that is not enough, the number of women into cabinet positions is still not impressive.

“This indicates that we are good at policy making but the impact on the ground is not traced because of lack of implementation capacity among the women groups as champions”, she observed.

On the other hand, the second deputy parliamentary speaker said despite her office put the gender Agenda on the forefront in its programs, the continued numerous challenges still frustrate women in the course of discharging their duties.

“For instance, we lack resources to reach out to as many people as we can in our constituencies and in the country. As a Women’s Caucus, we have different programs lined up in our work plan which are very beneficial to the nation, but we lack capacity and resources envelope to see to it that these are fulfilled,” said Adams.

Mambo also mentioned political differences as the other contributing factor to the poor service delivery among the women parliamentarians.

However, the UN resident coordinator Maria Hose Torres hailedthe parliamentary women caucus in its various contributions towards the promotion of Gender Equality and Women Empowerment in Malawi.

“Indeed, Malawi is among the countries with good women promotion policies but implementationis the main challenge. The women  needs also to lobby for issues of national interest to ensure speedy implementation,” she said

Director of gender affairs in the ministry of gender, children, disability and social welfare Mercy Safalaoh retaliated the country’s commitment to work with all other stakeholders in support of women parliamentary caucus and women’s political leadership to influence policy implementation.

“For example, my ministry continues to lobby electoral gender quotas, electoral cycle approach to the 50:50 national programme and will do all it can to ensure that women caucus and all concerned stakeholders have necessary support towards the developing of women’s leadership capacity skills,” she said.

The workshop covered strategic areas such as resource mobilization, financial literacy, wealth creation, communication and presentation skills, and engagement with the media as areas of focus.

The women’s caucus of Malawi Parliamentwas established in 1995 to bring together female MPs on issues of importance to women throughout the country.

It also aims at ensuring the policy and legislative interventions on issues affecting women and children in the social, cultural, economic and political life are facilitated and implemented.

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