The SNP WFD programme has been working with Malawi’s Parliamentary Women’s Caucus since 2017. In October 2017, the then-serving Head of the Caucus, Dr Jessie Kabwila MP was invited to visit Edinburgh and London to observe how the institutions of democracy work in Holyrood and Westminster and help design activities to most effectively support the Caucus.
Based on this exchange, the 2017-19 programme was developed to focus on supporting the retention of Malawi’s female MPs in the May 2019 tripartite election. In February 2018, 25 of 32 women Malawian MPs attended a training session led by local experts in politics and communications, with additional contributions from SNP MP Hannah Bardell and the SNP Westminster Group’s Head of Press.
The SNP WFD, Malawi’s Centre for Civil Society Strengthening and ActionAid hired a local Project Officer based in Lilongwe, who has frequent interaction with the Caucus and Parliamentary Clerks, conducts field research, has developed the social media strategy, organised conversations between the SNP and Malawi parties’ leaders to discuss the importance of women in party leadership positions and developed various means of ensuring the visibility of female candidates.
We continue to work with the Caucus on combating violence against women in politics, improved relations with the media, how to fund-raise for campaigns and maintaining visibility to the electorate.
The May 2019 election returned a record-breaking 45 women, and Malawi’s first female Speaker. We look forward to revitalising the programme with the new Caucus.