Karonga District Council and civil society organizations (CSOs) have been challenged to economically empower women through formulation of budgets that are gender responsive.
Justice and Peace (JP) of Karonga Diocese made the call Friday at an engagement meeting at Thunduzi at Uliwa in the lakeshore district aimed at lobbying CSOs and Karonga District council to have budgets that are gender inclusive.
Speaking at the one day event, project officer for Women Empowerment Program (WEP) at JP Vincent Bwinga said his organization recognizes the huge responsibility that councils play through district development plans (DDPs) in terms of planning and budgeting to achieve social economic of the district.
He said this is why JP decided to engage these two key players as their activities cannot be implemented without budgets.
“We decided to call for this meeting to engage the local councils and CSOs to lobby for inclusion of gender planning and budgeting at district level so that we deal with gender issue with a holistic approach. And again we would want to reflect on availability of district plans and budgets if they are gender sensitive,” Bwinga said.
Bwinga added that the meeting provided a platform for all stakeholders to go through the budget that acting director of finance (DOF) at Karonga district council presented during the meeting which left his office satisfied.
Speaking on behalf of Karonga district commissioner Richard Hara, acting director of planning and development (DPD) Isaac Mkandawire said his office has developmental activities that are of benefit to women.
“At Karonga district council we know how vital women are in terms of social economic development. This is why we strive to make an inclusive budget that sees to it that women are covered because most of the times it is them who are the most affected people if not considered,” Mkandawire said.
He gave examples of the K60-million from DDF that will go to drilling of boreholes in the five constituencies and the construction of Pusi market shelter as examples that will reduce distances women cover in search of portable water.
Taking her turn, Karonga district gender officer Martha Kalumbi hailed JP for taking gender inclusive budget campaign head on.
“Gender inclusiveness is a cross cutting issue. So we are always grateful when we see organizations bringing key stakeholders together to brainstorm on how they can make it a reality. As an office at district level we will work hand in hand with all players to make sure that we achieve this,” Kalumbi said.
“JP of Karonga diocese is implementing WEP with funding from UN Women. The meeting drew together 10 CSOs and government officials.