Title of the experience
USE AND APPLICATION OF THE VOLUNTARY GUIDELINES ON THE RIGHT TO ADEQUATE FOOD IN MALAWI
Country(ies)/Region(s) covered by the experience
How have the VGRtF been used in your context? Which specific guidelines of the VGRtF was most relevant to your experience?
The Voluntary Guidelines provided the framework for the development of the draft Right to Food Bill referred to as the Food and Nutrition Bill, which when enacted will provide the context for the respect, protection and fulfillment of the RTF in Malawi
Brief description of the experience
The experience has been fraught with both excitement and exasperation , as is the case with most legislative drafting processes. It took time to contextualize the term RTF into local languages as well as to get buy-in of policymakers to internalize the dyanamics as outlined in the VG.
Who was involved in the experience?
Initially, the process began as a civil society initiative, aimed at garnering the support of legislators to support the enactment of the bill. However, with the high turnover, this meant repeating the process of awareness to MPs without any meaningful progress. After nine years of literally ‘running at the same spot’, we changed strategy and deliberately sought broadbased support from targeted members of government, civil society, the judiciary and development partners. Additionally, we also relinquished our lead role as civil society and coopted the Department of Nutrition and HIV/AIDS in the Ministry of Health to take lead with guidance from civic society. This approach has proved to be more effective in that it has created space for better interaction and collaboration and lessen the traditional walls of rivalry and confrontation that often drives this relationship.
How were those most affected by food insecurity and malnutrition involved?
To ensure the voice of the marginalized was included, we have carried out Right to Food Assessments in conjunction with the Malawi Human Rights Commission using FAO Assessment tools.
Training of CSOs
Training of Media
Training of Church Leaders
Training of Parliamentarians
The whole process commenced in 2003 and we hope to have the draft bill passed on the Cabinet for general approaval and the eventual tabling of the bill by end of December 2018
Results obtained/expected in the short term, with quantitative aspects where feasible (estimate of the number of people that have been or will be affected)
Training of 20 CSOs involving 25 people each
Training of 4 Media organisations involving 20 people
Training of 6 Church Leaders involving 159 Church leaders
Training of Parliamentarians involving 5 committees
Results obtained/expected in the medium to long term, with quantitative aspects where feasible (estimate the number of people that have been or will be affected)
A Rights Based Approach to Food is expected to bring about a balance to the lack of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which are often superceded by Civil and Political Rights
Results obtained – most significant changes to capture
A major stakeholder, the Malawi Human Rights Commission will be the key stakeholder in reporting RTF violations to Parliament and other key stakeholders such as UN Committee on ESCR and the Special Rapporteur on RTF
What are the key catalysts that influenced the results?
Corruption in the agriculture sector
Politicization of the major staple, Maize
What are the major constraints/challenges for achieving the Right to Food?
The Right to Food being perceived as a food security issue and not a Rights issue
What mechanisms have been developed to monitor the Right to Food?
The draft Bill includes provisions to monitor processes at the national and international level
What good practices would you recommend for successful results?
An all inclusive process involving civil society, government, development partners is paramount. It has been noted from our experience that the role of the FAO has been declining particularly at the FAO National Office level and to us this has been a clear contradiction in terms
Links to additional information