The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has said Malawi is in “serious need of technical experts” and gender-responsive institutions, which can facilitate effective implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
A UNDP official Clara Anyangwe made the remarks in Lilongwe yesterday during the national consultation on Gender Equality Policy for the University of Malawi (Unima).
Anyangwe, who represented UN resident coordinator Mia Seppo at the function, said gender responsive institutions and experts play a pivotal role in creating an enabling environment for planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of gender-responsive development interventions.
She said: “The country [Malawi] is in serious need of technical experts that can integrate gender in their work. The UN is, therefore, pleased to note that Unima has come up with a gender policy that would address lapses.”
Anyangwe also said the Unima Gender Policy came at the right time after “as you all know Malawi failed to achieve four out of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which had gender connotations.”
“It is our hope that the policy will address gender issues that affect both female and male students, staff, including academic programmes. In so doing, Unima will be committing to equal, fair opportunity, free, active and meaningful participation for all irrespective of sex,” she narrated.
Unima vice chancellor Professor John Saka said the university partnered with the Ministry of Gender, Children, the Elderly, Disability and Social Welfare to contribute to the national gender balanced human capital required for the various sectors of the economy.
“This partnership is consistent with pillar two of the 2012-2017 Unima Strategic Plan, which tackles research, outreach and community engagement and core value responsiveness,” he said.
Saka also said to consolidate their effort, Unima will explore possibilities of establishing a Gender and Women Studies Unit, initially as part of the department of sociology, which will be transformed into a full-fledged department in the next three years.
Principal Secretary (PS) for Ministry of Gender, Children, the Elderly, Disability and Social Welfare Mary Shawa said the National Gender Policy can only be fully implemented if all key institutions, including the Unima, have strategic documents to guide them.
She urged all the university’s constituent colleges to embrace and implement the policy.n