- NGO Gender Coordination Network (NGO-GCN) will implement an 8-month long governance project in Balaka entitled “Deepening Democracy through Increased Women’s Political Participation and Decision Making in Local Governance Project” with funding from HIVOS Women Empowered For Leadership (W4FL) and run from March-November 2020.
- The project was introduced during the inception meeting held on Friday 29th May at ZUC lodge before the Balaka District Executive Committee (DEC) and it received overwhelming endorsement thereby paving the way for implementation.
- In her final endorsement remarks, Balaka District Gender Officer, Ms. Hannah Kisyombe described the project as relevant as it would help address some gaps noticed over the years in the 50:50 campaign "The interventions towards attaining 50:50 have been described as more of an event than a process. Once we vote in office bearers, we hibernate for four years and come out just a few months before another general election. During that hibernation period we lose momentum. Therefore, this project is quite relevant".
- In her remarks after the project got a nod, Chairperson for NGO-GCN's Women in Politics and Decision Making Permanent Committee (WPDM-PC) Ms Thandizo Mphwiyo thanked the Balaka DEC for endorsing the project and expressed hope the interventions under it would help to create a pool of capable women to take up leadership positions in political parties when needs arise.
- The intervention comes, for instance, following the dismal performance of women in the 2019 Local Government Elections (LGE) which saw one female councillor for Bwaila ward, Balaka North scraping through out of eight (8) seats. This is despite several interventions that were put in place to drum up support for more meaningful involvement of women in local governance and leadership.While women’s poor showing may be largely rooted in negative patriarchal social norms, it is exacerbated by a lack of solidarity movements for women especially at district and sub-district levels through which they can speak with one voice and challenge their exclusion across all spheres of public life.
- The project’s overall objective seeks to strengthen women’s leadership and agency, decision making and participation in local governance. In addition, the project seeks to create a pool of capable women from which political parties can tap for various elective leadership positions and its target beneficiaries include the female councilor, previous female LGE candidates, Area Development Committees (ADCs), Village Development Committees (VDCs), Community Leaders and the media.
- It (project) will cost MK24 million and is to be implemented under the HIVO’s Women Empowered for Leadership (WE4L) programme whose aim is to ensure women have equal opportunities and the capacity to fully participate in political life and decision-making processes, while also creating more public recognition and support for women in leadership positions.
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