The Danish Church Aid says it wants to bridge the existing gap between men and women in economic development through the Economic Empowerment on Women (EEW) project to be launched next month.
Programme coordinator Anthony Malunga, was speaking in Lilongwe on Monday at a news briefing on the prelaunch of the project.
Said Malunga: “There are huge economic participation gaps between men and women in the country as we note, a passive inclusion of women, particularly those in rural areas, in economic development. Thus, we want to train these women to be independent.”
He said the K150 million (about $442 000) project, which will phase out in 2015, is expected to benefit 15 000 rural women from Chitipa, Mwanza, Lilongwe, Neno and Ntchisi districts.
“While almost 70 percent of work is done by women in rural areas, [they do not adequately] benefit because of male domination. These women need civic education on different issues, including human rights and banking services as some cannot access loans because they do not understand English language on the loan forms,” said Malunga.
He said his organisation will work with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, which is reviewing policies, on women empowerment as recommended by different stakeholders.
The ministry’s senior communication documentation officer Fred Simwaka said government will in three months put in place policies on women empowerment.
“Women are indeed left behind when it comes to economic development and government is not quiet on this. We could have finished reviewing these recommended policies last year, but we needed to incorporate issues presented in the second Malawi Development Growth Strategies paper in the policies,” said Simwaka.