Women Councillors Caucus failing to implement women empowering programs due to resource constraints

Women Councillors Caucus in Malawi has appealed for financial support from the government, saying it is failing to implement programs to empower women and girls due to resource constraints.

The Caucus says it does not want to turn to “foreign donors” for support because such “donors are unpredictable”.

Vice-chairperson, Esther Sagawa said this in Mangochi during a training workshop on gender responsive budgeting, which Malawi Local Government Association (Malga) organized for female councillors.

Deputy Minister of Local Government, Halima Daudi

The training, which brought together all the 66 female councillors in Malawi, was opened by the Deputy Minister of Local Government, Halima Daudi.

Malga, an umbrella body of local councils in Malawi, organized the workshop as one of the core components of a four months project pegged at MK74 million — which the association is implementing with support from UN Women under the Spotlight Initiative, a partnership between UN and European Union.

The aim, among other things, is to establish the Women Councillors Caucus as a vehicle of entrenching girls and women rights through mainstreaming gender responsive budgeting.

Sagawa emphasized that the financial support from the government will enable the caucus have own readily available resources to manage its activities.

“Our activities, among others, include empowering female councillors,” she said. “Currently, there are only 66 female councillors in the country. We need to retain these or get even more of them at the next general election.

“We, therefore, need more programs to make female councillors active. People must appreciate what they do as this will generate public trust in the female councillors.”

Malawi Local Government Association women caucus

In her remarks, Deputy Minister Daudi concurred with Sagawa, promising that government “will support the Women Councillors Caucus so that there are a lot of women in local councils”.

“Yes, we need to retain these female councillors or increase their numbers. We will give them trainings. Government will support the caucus so it empowers women to become independent,” Daudi said.

According to Malga, the Women Councillors Caucus is one of the political structures under Malga established specifically to promote the interest of women in the local government sector through Malga as a representative, lobby, advocacy and umbrella body.

It ensures that women and girls are protected at local level, which is also the mandate of the central government, hence having the “basis” to demand support from government so that it is visible.

Training in gender responsive budgeting, a process where an institution’s budget meets the minimum needs of all the segments of their population, will reportedly help female councillors to be able to track councils’ budgets and projects so that they are really benefiting all people.

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