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The theme of the activity was ‘Sensitization Training Workshop for Traditional Leaders in Zomba’ on the legal (statutory) instruments supporting women’s land rights in Malawi. It was the first training workshop for the lower three tiers in the hierarchy of traditional leadership in Malawi namely Traditional Authorities (TAs), Group Village Headmen/Headwomen (GVHs), Village Headmen/Headwomen (VHs) and selected members of the local Area Development Committees (ADCs). Apart from traditional leaders, ADCs form part of the political decision oversight structure on customary land allocation for development and other purposes within rural communities. The intended outcome of the activity was to ultimately ensure that future actions of traditional leaders are within the codified law as mediators and protectors of women’s rights. It was envisaged that through the training workshop, the traditional leaders will be made aware of the general laws pertaining to women’s land rights and through this knowledge they will be able to allocate land to women in their own right.
A total of 98 participants were reached: 70 men and 28 women tradional leaders participated. The first in-take comprised 37 men and 14 women from WOLREC’s project impact areas. From NASFAM’s project impact areas, there were 47 participants: 33 men and 14 women.
It was anticipated that with this training, the 96 traditional leaders who attended would understand how positive aspects of both customary and statutory laws can be used to protect and promote land ownership and land tenure rights of women. The cooperating partners – Women’s Legal Resources Centre (WOLREC) and the National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi (NASFAM) – in collaboration with KAS identified and invited the workshop participants from the partners' project impact areas. Two workshops (running for one and a half days each) were conducted to cover participants from WOLREC’s and NASFAM’s impact areas respectively. KAS identified and engaged three workshop facilitators- a legal and gender expert who also compiled the EWoH 2 civic awareness training manual for Malawi; the Lands Officer in the Ministry of Lands responsible for Zomba District, and a vastly experienced expert from LandNet Malawi. The facilitators collaborated on their presentations before the workshop. The District Lands Officer contacted some journalists who came to cover the event. The Zodiak Broadcasting Station carried the workshop proceedings in both its radio and television prime news casts. On the final day, the District Commissioner for Zomba was the guest of honour, and he officially closed the workshop.