Over 50 000 women to be empowered to cope with adverse effects of climate change

Lilongwe: Over 50 000 women farmers from six districts of the country stand to be equipped with skills to help them withstand adverse effects of climate change once the five year US$ 13.3 million Gender Climate and Agriculture Support Programme (GCCASP) under NEPAD Agency rolls into operation.

The GCCASP is a project designed six years ago aimed at facilitating the implementation interventions aimed at empowering smallholder rural women farmers enhance their resilience on the same.

Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Dr Jean Kalilani on Wednesday in Lilongwe at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) opened the second National partnership platform organized in collaboration with NEPAD aimed at strategizing on the implementation of the programme.

I am pleased that we finally have the GCCASP ready for implementation in Malawi. The programme aims at empowering smallholder women farmers, youth and other vulnerable selections of the targeted communities in decision making, enhancing their productivity and adaptability to adverse effects of climate change.

This is consistency with the vision of President Peter Mutharika whose investment plans prioritizes agriculture, she noted.

Kalilani added saying it was pleasing to note that the programme is targeting women as this complements government’s development priorities on women empowerment and gender equality.

She said the significance of the GCCASP could not be overemphasized, hence the need to fast track its implementation.

Our natural resources are being affected adversely and life is not as some years ago. Climate change has had negative implications for farmers and women, youths the disabled as well as men.

There is need to ensure that the programme implementation takes off sooner for the benefit of the vulnerable women, the Minister observed.

Kalilani said her Ministry which is coordinating the programme would continue to support the programme.

With funding from Norwegian Agency for Development (Norad), the programme is targeting six districts of Rumphi, Nkhatabay, Lilongwe, Salima, Machinga and Blantyre.

In Africa it is targeting Cameroon, Ethiopia, Niger, Rwanda and Malawi, with funding from Norad.

NEPAD Agency Programme Officer, Edna Kalima said the programme came about due to the recognition of the work women do in the agriculture sector.

Women are doing so much work and they contribute a lot including in food production.

So, looking at their role and contribution, and realizing that women face various challenges; we decided to come up with this programme to support them to better cope with effects of climate change and also to ensure they are economically supported, she said.

Kalima said currently, NEPAD is mobilizing resources for the GCCASP.

But as of now, we have some money available for specific priority actions which we have started with, she said.

Some of the objectives of the meeting were to exchange and share information, experiences and lessons on relevant and Malawi’s priority areas of implementing the programme and discuss, plan and roll out implementation activities both at ministry and community levels.

The platform attracted the participation of platform the civil society, the UN, young women farmers and other government partners.

Source: Malawi News Agency MANA