Calling for gender-aware policies to strengthen women’s resilience in drought-prone areas in Malawi

February 3, 2023 | Malawi

A team of local PEP researchers held a national policy conference to present their insights on designing fiscal policies that effectively safeguard public welfare in Malawi during climate shocks, particularly focusing on droughts and their impact on women-owned farms.

February 3, 2023 – A team of local PEP researchers held a national policy conference to share their recommendations for boosting agricultural productivity and resilience in Malawi's climate-vulnerable regions.

The conference brought together over 19 policy stakeholders, advisors, academics, and representatives from civil society and the private sector. Among the key attendees were representatives from the Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare, the Ministry of Information and Digitalization (MoID), The Ministry of Economic Planning and Development, and policy experts, all interested in understanding the potential impact of the team's research findings.

The research team presented the findings and recommendations from their PEP project investigating the connection between gender and the adoption of soil erosion control strategies among Malawi's smallholder farm households, particularly in the face of climate shocks like droughts.

They explained that male plot managers who did not face drought adopted strategies 6.5 percent more than female managers in similar conditions. However, the team found gender disparities in strategy adoption were no longer the case under drought conditions, as both men and women adopt similar strategies during droughts.

He also shared that although male managers who adopted soil erosion control strategies achieved larger yields, these strategies did not effectively increase yields for either gender. Furthermore, the gender gap in productivity diminished when considering plot quality and manager characteristics, suggesting that women plot managers faced inferior plot conditions compared to men. 

Malawi research team

The audience showed their appreciation for the team's methodology and findings. Attendees actively participated by asking questions and showing genuine interest in PEP's work. In particular, one notable participant, Geoffrey Chimwala, a representative of the Ministry of Gender, Community Development, and Social Welfare, emphasized the importance of such research in guiding the government toward effective interventions.

A local journalist from Farm Radio Trust, a non-profit dedicated to addressing the needs of farming communities through radio programs, was also present at the event, emphasizing the public interest in the team's findings and recommendations.

The research team organized the event with financial and advisory support from PEP and Global Affairs Canada (GAC).


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