CSOs call for holistic approach towards gender responsive budget

Civil society organizations (CSOs) in Karonga district say government should come up with deliberate policies that will further decentralize the department of gender at council level by having gender experts in various council departments.

According to the CSOs, efforts to achieve gender responsive budget in the country will remain a dream unless this is done.

CSO’s doing group work-Picture by Jordan Simeon-Phiri

The observation was made at a meeting Justice and Peace (JP) of Karonga diocese organized Friday afternoon at Club Marina aimed at bringing them into the fold of lobbying for sectorial gender equality in terms of distribution of resources meant for various developments.

Speaking on behalf of Karonga CSOs, Foundation for Community Support Service (FOCUS) project coordinator Jabess Nyirenda said if the country is to make strides at national level, then there is need to decentralize the system at district level.

“For the system to work effectively, we have agreed to functionalize the gender technical working group which has the mandate to coordinate all gender initiatives at district level. So both government departments and CSOs have agreed to revamp the system.

“We have done this because we believe that if all resources that are channeled to all CSOs in Karonga and to the department of gender are put together and well-coordinated, we can implement all activities with ease,” Nyirenda said.

Earlier on during his presentation, Nyirenda noted that the K3.1 Million that the gender office in Karonga gets from government is not enough to cater for all needs due to among others lack of personnel to coordinate gender needs in all government sectors at the council.

JP project coordinator Obert Mkandawire said he was happy that his organization had brought all the CSOs together to a platform that banged their heads together to find the long lasting solutions to problems that the council is facing to bridge the gender gap that is there.

“We are glad to note that CSOs have agreed to come up with a gender technical working team that will harness this to make sure that resources are available for school blocks, learning materials and various programs that are gender inclusive.

“At the end of the day we want to see Karonga shining on the national map whereby we will be having an element of the 40 to 60 percent of the Gender Act in whatever we do so as to have a well-balanced share,” Mkandawire said.

The women empowerment program (WEP) is being implemented with funding from UN Women and is aimed at empowering the community in public expenditure tracking in line with gender.