Malawi Local Government Association (Malga) is working to establish guidelines that will help councils to develop gender responsive budgets.
Speaking at a consultative meeting at Mponela in Dowa on Friday, Malga acting executive director Hadrod Mkandawire said councils should have budgets that respond to needs of all members of the society, including vulnerable groups.
He said without guidelines, it is difficult for councils to formulate gender responsive budgets.
Said Mkandawire: “When we talk about gender responsive budgeting, we are looking at a process that considers all members of the society. It is about having an inclusive budget.
“It is not just about men and women because under these broad groups are several categories that have different needs. So, we are looking at a budget that looks at the minimum requirement of each group in a given population.”
At the consultative meeting on Friday, Malga invited directors of finance from selected councils, officials from the ministries of Finance, Gender and Local Government.
In most of the presentations, it was noted that local government budgets leave out some segments of the population; hence, the need for guidelines.
Local Government Finance Managers Network chairperson Ellen Kayira said there are a number of guidelines followed in developing budgets and the new ones will help to have budgets that directly respond to needs of each section of the society, including children, women and the elderly.
She said: “We are funded by the central government and we have ceilings. So, within these resources we need to pay attentions to needs of all but more importantly those groups that are vulnerable.”
This is a pilot project that Malga is implementing with funding from UN Women under the Spotlight Initiative to strengthen the capacity of local councils. Under the project, Malga is also working to improve the capacity of councils to deal with gender-based violence in councils and their respective communities.