The Gender Equality and Women Empowerment (GEWE) project which was scheduled to come to an end in May 2015 has been extended at no cost for an extra year.
Resident European Union Head of Cooperation, Marchel Germans made the announcement at the official handover ceremony of bicycles to the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare at the National Adult Literacy Centre in Lilongwe. The donation was made through the GEWE project.
Said Germans, “the ministry and UNFPA are doing a commendable job of bringing change to the women of Malawi, and we are glad to announce a one year extension of the GEWE programme. Through this programme, services are being offered to women in the farthest areas of the country.”
He further stated that the European Union is ready to work with the Malawi government in different projects and areas such as the construction of schools, maternity wings and the provision of one stop centres in the country.
Minister for Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Patricia Kaliati thanked the European Union for the extension of the GEWE project. She said through the project, more schools will be constructed, and this will help promote girl education. She further said, clinics will be closer to women and thus access to health services will improve.
“I am happy that the EU has extended the GEWE project by a year. I would therefore like to challenge the GEWE project implementing partners to show their commitment and perform within the extended year that has been given. I would also like to urge all departments in my ministry to monitor the progress of the project and to work as a team,” said Kaliati.
Kaliati then thanked the EU and UNFPA for the donation of the bicycles, and assured them that they would be put to good use, adding that it was time women graduated from the GEWE project and stood on their two feet.
Commenting on the donation of the bicycles, UNFPA resident representative in the country Violet Kakomya said the donation is a milestone in women empowerment and gender equality. She also reiterated that the bicycles will increase the capacity to reach out to places which are hard to reach where the GEWE project is being implemented.
Kakomya then urged partners to use the bicycles for their intended purpose, to maintain and service them and also to take good care of them.
GEWE project coordinator, Innocent Hauya said he was excited the project had received the extension, citing that a number of programmes would have been negatively affected if the project had ceased existing.
“The GEWE project implementation was delayed by 16 months because of various factors. If the project came to an end in 2015 a lot of people would have been affected. We have students who receive scholarship through the project, we want to have One Stop Centres across all the 13 GEWE implementing districts and the Gender Equality in Local Development (GELD) programme which constructs maternity wings and girls hostels would have also suffered,” Hauya Said.
The extension at no cost means that no new resources will be pumped into the project, but the project which received 11 million Euros and has so far spent above 70 percent of it will have to spend the remaining 30 percent during in the course of the extension.