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Saturday, 26 July 2014 18:34

Minimal participation of vulnerable women in decision making at local level crippling decentralization

Written by  Brian Wasili

Blantyre, July 26: Lack of full participation of vulnerable women in decision making at local level has been described as a challenge in successful implementation of the decentralization policy in the country.

The statement was made at a consortium meeting held at the Blantyre District Council Friday whereby an Italian organization called International Committee for People’s Development (CISP), Malawi Human Rights Resource Centre (MHRRC) and Centre For Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) were briefing members of the District Executive Committee (DEC) and its stakeholders on the project which the three organizations will embark on this year.

According to the Project Officer of the Consortium for Good Governance, Graciano Gawamadzi, it has been observed that since the 1998 Decentralization Policy came into effect, which is based on participation, democracy, accountability and people’s empowerment, there has been low participation of vulnerable women especially in rural areas in public policy processes.

“Despite that, Malawi initiated the decentralization process 19 years ago that would promote accountability and popular participation by the citizens as stipulated in the decentralization policy, the situation on the ground is far from meeting that purpose,” observed  Gawamadzi.

According to Gawamadzi, the project would, among other things, improve vulnerable women’s socio-economic status and participation in the decentralization process, strengthen capacity of members of local government structures and civil society organization on their roles and responsibilities in the decentralization setup.

In his remarks, District Commissioner for Blantyre, Atanazio Chibwana, asked stakeholders and non-governmental organizations in the district to discharge their duties in an accountable and transparent manner in a bid to accomplish the objectives of their projects.

“If people lose trust in any organization, don’t expect their full support in your project hence no development,” said Chibwana after noting that some projects do not last long because their office bearers are not open in their activities.

The project that would run from 2014 and is expected to expire in 2015 with high possibility of extension. It will be implemented in Salima, Ntchisi and Blantyre.

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