Norwegian Ambassador Kikkan Haugen has said political parties in the country hold the key to ensuring more women participation in politics and increasing the number of female members of Parliament (MPs) in 2019.
He was speaking at a media interaction in Lilongwe on Monday where the Royal Norwegian Embassy, alongside the 50-50 Campaign Management Agency, a consortium of civil society organisations (CSOs) running the campaign, appealed to the media for support.
Haugen said Norway could not dictate how Malawi could ensure more women participate in politics but he was encouraged that there was ongoing debate on the proposal to reserve 28 district seats for women.
“It is important that Malawi finds its own solutions. But there is a need to get political parties on the side of the women, challenge them to provide a conducive environment to women standing for elective office,” he said.
The 50-50 Campaign Management Agency comprises Centre for Civil Society Strengthening (CCSS) and Action Aid Malawi (AAM) who have come up with innovations to ensure more women win in the 2019 elections.
AAM executive director Grace Malera said the campaign was starting from the recognition that there have been efforts in the past to increase the number of women in Parliament.
“It is without question that women start out in politics at a disadvantage, but the 50-50 campaign is attempting to level the playing field. This will be done through the pillars of coordination through the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, programming around the electoral cycle and challenging social cultural norms so that the transformative agenda is carried on through young women,” she said.
The campaign has since planned to create an incubator for women to express themselves as they aspire to enter political leadership as well as offering trainings for women aspirants to enhance their profiles, communicate better and advocate for more spaces in decision-making.
The 50-50 campaign is due to be launched on 6 April, 2018 and has received a K1.1 billion financial support from the Royal Norwegian Embassy.