The Institute of Public Opinion and Research (IPOR) held a dissemination workshop to present research findings of the Malawi Local Governance Performance Index (LGPI) Study. The event's presentation focused on findings related to gender issues in Malawi. This was the third in the series of dissemination workshops on the findings of the LGPI Study and followed the first and second workshops which focused on land and livelihoods, and education and health, respectively.
The LGPI Study was implemented between March and April 2016 in 15 of the country’s 28 districts namely: Chitipa, Rumphi, Mzimba, Nkhata Bay, Mzuzu City, Kasungu, Lilongwe City, Dedza, Ntcheu, Balaka, Blantyre, Blantyre City, Chikwawa, Mangochi, Mulanje, and Nsanje. Data for the Malawi LGPI was collected following a multi-layered format from the district level to the village level down to the household level. In total, the study covered 8000 households, 270 villages and 22 Traditional Authorities.
The dissemination event was held at the Malawi Sun Hotel in Blantyre on 9th February 2017 and began at 8:30am. Study team members from IPOR and the Christian Michelsen Institute (CMI) of Norway took turns in presenting study results. Dr. Boniface Dulani, Senior Partner at IPOR introduced the study and went on to present findings on women’s political association. He was followed by Dr. Asiyati Chiweza, Associate Researcher at IPOR who presented results on variations between men and women regarding health. The latter parts of the presentation which were on gender variations regarding education, security and livelihood from gender were presented by Dr. Happy Kayuni, Associate Researcher at IPOR and Dr. Ragnhild Muriaas, Associate Senior Researcher at CMI.
The event was graced by over 40 participants representing different stakeholders. Among the notable stakeholder representatives include Honourable Dr. Jessie Kabwila, the Chairperson of the Women Caucus of the Malawi Parliament, women from the Judiciary, Traditional Leaders like Traditional Authorities Kuntaja and Kapeni. Also in attendance were representatives from various media houses such as Malawi Broadcasting Cooperation, CCAP Blantyre Synod Radio and Nation Publications Limited, just to mention a few.
This was an interctive event with participants being given the opportunity to comment and seek clarification in the course of the presentation. It was a colorful event with a very interactive audience which was eager to know more about the findings of the research particularly regarding women participation. One of the findings which stirred a debate amongst the audience was on the variation between men and women when it comes to where they discuss social problems. The finding revealed that men are the ones who feel free to discuss problems with their neighbours, an influential local family and even their church members. Most of the contributors argued that these research findings can be attributed to variations in the socialization process resulting in men being oriented to become problem solvers, being in the forefront in addresssing problems and being more open to discuss problems with others. Another interesting finding was that 90% of men and 84% of women supported the idea of introducing electoral quotas. This stirred Honourable Dr. Jessie Kabwila, the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Women Caucus to advocate the tabling of a bill introducing these quotas in the country because of the high levels of support which the study revealed.
In a nutshell, the event was a success and was commended by the audience. The representative from CCAP Blantyre Synod Radio remarked that often are the times that people conduct surveys and results are published but are not shared with stakeholders who can act on them. However, with the presence of both men and women representing different organizations and institutions, traditional leaders, the media, and other stakeholders, one is persuaded to believe that the research findings stand very high chances of reaching out and impacting on the lives of many in Malawi.
A report of the study findings on gender is available at http://gld.gu.se/media/1219/malawigenderreport-full-final.pdf