Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Dr. Jean Kalirani said on Wednesday that high poverty rate among women is worsening the country’s economic status.
Kalirani was speaking during a launch of Women Empowerment Project implemented by the Islamic Commission for Justice and Freedom in the area of Traditional Authority Mazengera in Lilongwe.
She said women should be empowered economically for them to contribute to the economic development of the country.
“Women are the most affected by poverty than men because when they have money they focus on what is lacking in the home setting instead of investing that money in business,” Kalirani said.
She said research has shown that many of the challenges facing Malawi borders on low literacy and high poverty levels among women.
“With the results of the research, empowering women economically and promoting girls’ education cannot be over emphasized. These challenges are resulting in women’s low participation in sectors of economy, disempowerment of women leading to violence against and abuse of women and the girl child,” she said
The minister highlighted the development of two guiding policies in economic empowerment of women and young girls by her ministry as one of elevating the status of women in society.
The frameworks are the National Gender Policy and the National Plan of Action for Economic Empowerment of Women.
She added that the ministry will work very closely with development partners to ensure that the programmes targeting women and children are successfully implemented in line with these government policies strategies.”
On the new project, Kalirani said it will complement government’s efforts in reaching out to the marginalized segment of the society who are women, children, physically challenged and the elderly.
Chief Commissioner and founder for Islamic Commission for Justice and Freedom Shaibu Ajassie said the project will give loans to women without charging them a commission and they seek to target about 10,000 women across the country.
About MK15million has already been lent to women across the country in districts that the project is being implemented, according to Ajassie.
He said women will be put in groups of 20 people and they will either be loaned money or given livestock to keep and sale at profit.
The foundation is also working on re-enrolling to school those girls who dropped out because of a number.
So far, 100 girls have gone back to school through the initiative, according to Ajassie.
“We believe that the foundation of a woman should start at an early age. So the girls going back to school is one of the several projects that we want to implement across the country,” he said.
The one-year project is being piloted in seven districts of Balaka, Nkhotakota, Mzuzu, Salima, Blantyre, Chiradzulu and Karonga.
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