During the visit, Mlambo-Ngcuka will meet with various government and civil society representatives, UN agencies, business leaders and development partners to listen and discuss strategies to make greater progress.
“In all countries, advancing women’s and girls’ empowerment, education, and equality is vital for fighting poverty and for improving the health and well-being of all members of society,” she said ahead of her visit. “I am coming to Malawi to support the good work that is underway and to reinforce strong partnerships and action across sectors and with grassroots women for gender equality. I look forward to meeting the people we work with, side by side every day, to strengthen collaboration for women’s and girls’ empowerment and economic and social progress.”
In Malawi, the former South African deputy president, will highlight strategic responses around key challenges affecting women’s human rights such as economic empowerment of rural women, elimination of violence against women and girls, and the urgent need to focus on girls’ education and raising the age of marriage.
Malawi has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world, with half of girls being married before the age of 18, threatening their education, health and future prospects. The focus overall will be on expanding joint programming within the UN system and with other key development partners, including women’s organisations in advancing equal opportunities for women and men, boys and girls in Malawi.
During the trip, Mlambo-Ngcuka will visit the Victim Support Units and see first-hand the work being done in the country to eliminate violence against women and girls. She will also meet with rural women farmers to focus on enhancing productivity and agricultural services for the many women farmers across the country.
She will consult with representatives of human rights organisations and members of the newly-established UN Women Civil Society Advisory Group to discuss key trends and opportunities for partnerships and joint advocacy.
UN Women, established in 2010, leads the UN’s efforts towards women’s empowerment and gender equality. It also provides leadership in support of national priorities and efforts, building partnerships with civil society and other relevant actors. The UN Women Malawi office was established last year.AGV