The United States of America (USA) has designated Malawi as high priority and included the country among global beneficiaries of a new President Barack Obama initiative to tackle violence against women.
Obama, who last month visited Ethiopia and his father’s homeland Kenya, spoke passionately against vices against women.
Speaking during the official launch of Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) Gender Equality and HIV and Aids Policy launch in Lilongwe on Wednesday evening, US Ambassador Virginia Palmer said Malawi was among the countries targeted by a new Obama administration programme to end gender-based violence (GBV).
She said she is due to visit Washington DC to discuss details of the programme with US officials, but described the planned programme as exciting for African women.
In her remarks, Palmer applauded FUM for the gender equality efforts and urged men in the agriculture sector to embrace equality for benefits of both the families but also for national development.
“Empowering women in the agriculture sector does not take your role in the home and community, but it does make your home, your community and everyone in it better off,” said Palmer.
Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Patricia Kaliati welcomed support from development partners towards women empowerment, saying government was also committed to ending GBV.
FUM chief executive officer Prince Kapondamgaga said it was imperative for the agriculture sector to empower women, as they make vital contribution to the sector.
The country’s agriculture sector is dominated by women as labour, but experts say poor legislation and other unfriendly benefits see little economic reward returning to women.