Norwegian Ambassador to Malawi Ambassador Stainar Hagen has reiterated his government’s commitment to Malawi’s socio-economic development.
He, however, said, for Malawi to achieve equitable development, there was a need to increase women’s participation in decision-making processes, citing budget formulation as one of the key areas.
“Involve women because a country develops fully if women are involved in national development processes as well as when they are economically empowered,” he said in Karonga District, where he appreciated progress of some of the projects that Norway is supporting in the country.
“When women become active in economic activities, the country moves forward. Empowerment should not just be limited to politics; the economic empowerment of women is another important area,” he added.
Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare Director of Gender Affairs, Alice Mkandawire, said empowerment should start at council level.
She said, that way, council officials would be in a better position to continue implementing women empowerment programmes, even in the absence of development partners.
“We must ensure continuation of projects and this can be done if councils play a leading role in project implementation,” she said.
Nyungwe Ward Councillor Ethel Mwanza said women had potential to contribute to national development efforts.
“What women need is encouragement and financial capacity,” she said.
United Nations Women in partnership with Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace were, using funds from the Royal Norwegian Embassy, implementing the ‘Women Empowerment: Gender Responsive Budgeting and Participation of Women in Elections’ Project in Karonga, Salima and Mangochi districts between 2018 and 2020.