It is widely acknowledged that the policy, legislative and regulatory framework in Malawi is adequate to allow for enhanced participation of women in politics. Despite this fact, participation of women in politics remains very low. The recent release of nomination figures of women who want to contest the parliamentary election bears evidence to this, accounting to only about 20% of women aspirants. This is regardless of a number of efforts like the 50 -50 campaign.
The strategy of CMD is to work on the timing, that the programs to encourage women should be done way before political parties start holding primary elections for it still remains a fact that meaningful participation can be achieved through political parties. Another strategy is to continue the mentoring approach and entrench it within political parties. Thus, the objectives proposed in this project initiative will attempt to respond to the challenges that are being faced, and add up to the different efforts that are being advanced.
The main objective of the project is to encourage, strengthen and motivate the inclusion and meaningful participation of women in politics through mentoring.
Specific Objectives of the project are as follows
- To empower women through Mentoring.
- To empower Women through Capacity Development in Political Leadership and dialogue with political parties
- To advocate for inclusion of women rights and gender principles in party constitutions
This project will be carried out as a partnership between DIPD and Malawian Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD).
CMD has over 10 years of experience working with political parties in Malawi. From its inception until 2012, CMD’s core and sole partner was the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD) that provided programmatic and institutional support. After noticing the unique role that CMD has been playing in the politics of Malawi as a platform for dialogue for political parties, other partners like the UNDP.
The goal for CMD is “Promotion of a well-functioning multipart political system and ac-countable political parties in Malawi”. CMD intends to implement activities that will ensure that women wings in political parties are functioning and that space in decision-making positions is provided to ensure that their interests are presented and effectively considered.
This project intends to continue with the mentoring approach that was piloted in the first phase of the project.
While mentoring will be the key strategy, CMD intends to support it through a number of capacity building initiatives that include training. This intends to provide the women with skills necessary for them to build confidence but also to make meaningful impact in their bid to break into the decision-making circles, but also once they get decision-making positions.
Finally, CMD recognizes that for this effort to succeed, there has to be a change in the mindset. As such, lobbying “change agents” and those in authority to initiate meaningful changes has to be stepped up for them to assist in opening up avenues for more women.
Paper on Approach and Experiences
Tanzania Centre for Democracy (TCD), CMD and DIPD have jointly embarked on a new approach to enhancing women’s participation in political parties and in politics. Experience has shown that a lot of training of women has been undertaken with little effect on the numbers of women in political parties and in politics in general. Thus they embarked on a systemic approach also drawing on some of the strong methods used in Denmark and the experiences collected from capacity development. The approach covers addressing the regulatory frameworks, cultures and practices within political parties regarding gender equality; it encompasses high level dialogue and advocacy toward the party leader ship for commitment and measures for gender equality and finally it concerns capacitating the women through political mentoring programmes and networking. This work has resulted in the paper “WOMEN IN POLITICAL PARTIES-WIP-APPROACH AND EXPERIENCES”