The Commonwealth has partnered-up with the Malawi Centre for Multi-Party Democracy (CMD-M) for a workshop designed to advance women’s political party leadership, strategy, advocacy and engagement.
Members of the Malawi Inter-Party Gender Action Group took part in the event following recent progress in elections which saw more women elected to national Parliament and local government. In a session entitled ‘the theory of political change’ delegates discussed strategies for advancing voice, space and accountability for women in Malawi politics.
They also expressed concern that political parties are largely dominated by men with marginal space for women to navigate key decision-making mechanisms.
Lead resource person, Ehizefua Elens-Edeh, remarked that “in all democracies, political space can open or close but it must be demanded by women towards increasing their relevance, visibility and contributions to politics and society”.
Board chair of the CMD-M Ibrahim Matola, thanked the Commonwealth for its technical and financial assistance and stressed that the operationalization of the group will enhance a wider support base for women’s political priorities and agendas within Malawi political parties.
MP Patricia Kaliati said: “The Inter-Party Gender Action Group will galvanize the collective energies of women in politics towards resolving common concern of inclusivity in political parties, enabling women to speak with one voice on key national issues irrespective of party affiliations.”
Commonwealth representative, Abubakar Abdullahi, conveyed the best wishes of Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, and added that the Secretariat strongly supports political and democratic institutions built on the collective energies, creativities and strategic contributions of both men and women.
CMD-M is a political dialogue and consensus building platform for all political parties with representation in Malawian parliament. The centre was established in 2005 with the objective of strengthening political parties’ contribution to the consolidation of multi-party democracy in Malawi.
The Inter-Party Gender Action Group (IGAG) is an initiative of CMD-M and supported by the Commonwealth Secretariat. IGAG draws membership from all political parties with Mercy Mbezuma and Cecelia Chazama chosen during the inaugural workshop as chairperson and deputy Chair respectively.