JB launches K4.1bn gender, women’s empowerment programme

President Mrs. Joyce Banda has asked men to engage more in gender equality and women’s empowerment endeavours.

She was speaking when she launched the Support to the Gender Equality and Women’s empowerment Agenda in Malawi project at the newly opened Bingu wa Mutharika
International Conference Centre (ICC) in the capital Lilongwe.

“Gender inequality makes women to be economically dependent on their husbands thus limiting their contribution to decisions at household level which leads to exploitation,” Banda said.

Minister of Gender, Anita Kalinde, welcomes President Banda at the function. Photo by Amanda Chiliro/Nyasa Times

The objective

To be implemented by the ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, the project aims to contribute to the acceleration of efforts towards the advancement of gender equality and equity as a human right for the reduction of HIV and AIDS and poverty.

This, says the ministry, is in line with the Malawi Growth Development Strategy (MGDS II) and the National Gender Policy (NGP) which progresses into the gender Sector Wide Approach (SWAp).

The programme will be implemented in 13 districts representing a diversity of gender issues in all three regions of impoverished Malawi. These are Chitipa, Mzimba, Nkhatabay and Karonga up north,
Dowa, Mchinji, Salima and Dedza in the centre and Mangochi, Nsanje, Chikwawa, Chiradzulu and Machinga in the south.

“These districts have been selected based on the poor socio-economic and cultural indicators; hard to reach and under-served communities; prevalence of cultural practices that promote gender inequality and HIV; presence of existing structures and current programmes; and HIV prevalence rates,” said Banda.

She promised that being one of the gender activists, her government will work tirelessly in improving the conditions and welfare of girls and women in the country.

Roll out

Implementation will have the gender ministry as lead in collaboration with the finance, health, education, agriculture, transport and public infrastructure and selected civil society organisations in the impact areas.

The programme is to be executed through the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) for the duration of 72 months (at least three years) effective July 2012. The European Union (EU) is the main donor to the tune of K4.1 billion.

Speaking at the launch, European Union head of Delegation, Alexander Baum said the launch of Gender Equality and Women Empowerment a good development if the country is to achieve gender equality.

He said gender equality influences the work of the whole society as people tend to work together.

“There is no development if there is no economic growth which can only be achieved if both boys and girls are educated to contribute to decision making,” Baum said.

He further said having a female president is also a good development which shows that Malawi is a step ahead in achieving gender equality.-(Additional reporting by Malawi News Agency)

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