Malawi: Gender Analysis of the European Union’s Infrastructure Sectors

Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Malawi
Infrastructure & Transport

project description

A 2018 study by the World Bank on infrastructure development in Sub-Saharan Africa has shown that Malawi is one of the countries in the region lagging on infrastructure development. The country faces a widening gap between electricity demand and supply, which is being exacerbated by urbanization, economic development, population growth and rural electrification. 90% of Malawian households – 55% of which are female-head household – connected to the grid are supplied by the state-owned Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) or the private Electricity Generation Company. Prices have risen sharply, and daily rationing and lengthy “outages” lasting from a few hours to several weeks. As of 2015, 92% of the population in Malawi is not connected to a clean and safe water distribution system, and thus need to use external water sources. The lack of access to safe water and sanitation facilities are the main causes of water-borne diseases and mortality, therefore, affects women and girls most acutely. Women and girls are the main providers of household water supply and sanitation, and also have the primary responsibility for maintaining a clean home environment. Collecting water takes longer than 30 minutes. The frame of time that can easily turn them into potential victims of sexual violence. This considerably reduces the time women and girls have available for other activities such as childcare, income generation and school attendance.

We conducted a gender analysis on behalf of the EU to provide an understanding of the following questions:

  • Do gender inequalities persist in the EU infrastructure sectors in Malawi (water, transport and energy)?
  • If so, what are their causes?
  • How do such issues intersect with other inequalities (social and economic)?
  • How does it impact and/or benefit human rights, including access to development efforts?

The analysis also examined the government’s commitment and capacity to work on gender equality and women’s empowerment issues. Specifically, the project provided demographic disaggregated data, qualitative information, and analysis on the gender situation in the identified infrastructure sectors. The gender analysis identified one objective and one gender indicator per thematic priority in the GAP-II policy framework to contribute to gender mainstreaming in the water, transport and energy sectors of Malawi. The final output was an analytical and operative document to inform future policy and investments of the EU in Malawi.

The analysis contributed to the national policy dialogue and facilitated the development of gender-sensitive country strategies and feasible gender equality target indicators in line with the EU’s GAP-II policy. The analysis also provided guidance to the EU on how to operationalise a rights-based approach in infrastructure development projects.

services provided

  • Analysed recent statistics on the situation of girls, boys, women and men; providing baselines for future measurement and an interpretation
  • Analysed key barriers to achieving gender equality
  • Conducted mapping of stakeholders with mandate and capacity to act for gender equality
  • Identified information gaps and assessed where the EU could add value for achieving country objectives on gender equality
  • Suggested realistic objectives and opportunities for policy and political dialogue
  • Provided tangible recommendations for designing new programmes and projects, including smart gender equality indicators and targets