Bridging the exiting information gap in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) among female Members of Parliament (MPs) is said to be crucial in addressing the challenge of limited access to vital information among them.
This is according to a study by the Gender and Justice Unit (GJU) which has revealed that female legislators have got capacity gap in ICT.
Speaking to Yoneco FM, GJU Project Officer Tiwonge Nyemba said in the modern world, the female legislators need to be well equipped with technological advances in the course of executing their roles and responsibilities.
“While advancements have been promising, women, on a global average, have less understanding of technology, fewer digital skills, less presence on online platforms and less likely to own mobile devices.
“Findings from the rapids needs assessment that was conducted in March 2021 by GJU with female parliamentarians and councilors revealed lack of ICT skills, knowledge of utilization of electronic gadgets as some of the hindrances to the profiling and retention of female parliamentarians,” she said.
The organisation has since donated 50 tablets to the Parliamentary Women Caucus as one way of ensuring that the female lawmakers are up-to-date with ICT.
The Caucus through its Chairperson Lonnie Chijere Phiri expressed gratitude to the Unit saying that the tablet donation and knowledge shared will empower them as female lawmakers.
She said: “They have just upgraded us lower level to the highest one, this is a very important gesture that they have shown to women caucus as you know our work we do it in the village but also we have to hear what`s going around in the country or outside.
“So, with the tablets that we have gotten I am sure we are going to be well updated because they phones that we had cannot accommodate all he things, but the tablets can.”
In addition, GJU has trained the parliamentarians on proposal writing, navigating donor expectations and program management.
The donation has been made with financial support from Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) under the Leadership and Legal Empowerment for Newly Elected Female Parliamentarians and Councilors in Malawi project.
Among others, the project aims to strengthen women’s participation in political, public and decision-making spaces in Malawi.