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Gender and Land Rights Database

Malawi

Civil society and indigenous people’s organizations advocating for equality of land rights

 

Women’s Voice is an indigenous organization established in 1993 devoted to the promotion and protection of justice and welfare of women. The organization aims at providing women with community-level education and raising awareness on the violations of rights experienced by women, including property grabbing (23) (http://www.womens-voice.org.mw/)

The Women’s Legal Resources Centre (WOLREC) was founded in 2004 with the aim of promoting access to justice for women in the country. WOLREC mainly works in Salima and Mzimba districts where it encourages the participation of women in civic and political life by providing them with knowledge on gender and human rights. WOLREC also seeks to improve the economic status of women through setting-up small-scale businesses (24).

Local decision-making organizations and women’s representation in them

 

Currently there are 40 Local Authorities in Malawi, each one of them a body Corporate, categorized into 4 as follows: 28 District Assemblies; 8 Town Assemblies; 1 Municipal Assemblies; 3 City Assemblies.

Assemblies are made up of two distinct groups namely:
1. The Political Arm, primarily comprising community representatives that are democratically elected in a Local Government election. These represent people at Ward level. All the other members of the Assemblies are non-voting Ex-Officio members namely: Members of Parliament, Traditional Authorities and 5 other members representing interest groups as determined by the Assembly at its first meeting following an election. 
2. The Assembly Secretariat: these are employees with different areas of specialization that do the day to day work of the Assembly implementing the resolutions of the Political Arm (25).

Legal Information and capacity development on land rights

 

The Nkhomano Centre for Development provides paralegal support and legal training to women by informing the about the Constitution, the Land Policy and the Wills and Inheritance Act, explaining documents written in English to those who have a low level of literacy (26)
(http://www.landcoalition.org/partners/ppnkhomano.htm).

In 2001-02, Women’s Voice carried out a project named Will Writing Campaigns: to sensitize women and men, including traditional authorities, on women’s rights; to advocate for a fair and equitable dispensation of property at the community level, including reforming discriminatory customary inheritance practices; and to teach community members how to write a valid will and observe its provisions. Under the project, Women’s Voice trained 14 paralegals on matters related to inheritance and succession and conducted over 550 training events reaching more than 13 000 people (23) (http://www.womens-voice.org.mw/).

The non-governmental organization (NGO) Women’s Legal Resources Centre (WOLREC) provides legal assistance to rural and vulnerable urban women, information on human rights and gender issues and conducts research and documentation on law issues affecting women (24).

Sources: numbers in brackets (*) refer to sources displayed in the Bibliography