UN to open women’s lobby office in Malawi

The United Nations Women’s lobby group is poised to set – up a secretariat in Malawi to help fast tracking the implementation of the millennium development goal on promoting gender equality and empowerment of women.

Principal Secretary for Gender, Child and Social Welfare, Dr. Mary Shawa made the disclosure on Wednesday after a UN board meeting announced the development ahead of the general assembly in New York.

Shawa said the UN women lobby group deemed it fit to establish a secretariat in Malawi taking advantage that the country’s president is the first female leader in SADC and the second in the world thereby can articulate and advance the interests of girls/women.

Dr Mary Shawa: Informed UN to open women's lobby office in Malawi

“The establishment of a women desk in Malawi is a positive development because it will help in accelerating the agreements in the MDG goal number three and also by extension address goals number four and five,” Shawa emphasised.

Millennium Development Goals four and five emphasises on reducing child mortality and promoting maternal health respectively.

In addition, the PS said the establishment of the office would ensure consolidation of service package for women and children considering that the two groups face a number of challenges in society, ranging from early marriages and pregnancies.

“A critical analysis that gender experts conducted shows that the problem lies in early marriages, early pregnancies and low access to reproductive health services,” Shawa observed, adding that the situation had reached alarming levels though.

“In fact, our child and maternal mortality has been in the green light for the past two to three years,” she pointed out.

According to Shawa maternal mortality as a result of anaemia accounts for 50 per cent while general maternal mortality stands at 57 per cent.

Meanwhile, Malawi’s two year term membership to the United Nations Children’s Fund has expired, according to Shawa but the country has drawn enormous benefits from the global grouping since 2010.

“Although Malawi’s term of office on UNICEF board comes to an end, I am a very happy because our membership has been of great value in the sense that we’ve been empowered to analyse issues concerning children and provide the best services which are also in their (interest) children,” she added.

Shawa said critical lessons on child development were increasing access to education through establishment of early childhood development centres, nutrition and early health seeking behaviours among others.

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