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Southern Africa: Parliament, SADC-PF Sign Agreement On SRHR Project

The Parliament of Malawi and the Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) on Wednesday, 6th March, 2024 signed an agreement on the Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights and HIV and AIDS Governance (SRHR) Project.

SADC PF is implementing the three-year SRHR project in 15 SADC member states including Malawi with funding from Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).

The five-million-dollar project is in its Third phase and SIDA also funded the first and second phases.

Speaking during the launch of the project, the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Honourable Madalitso Kazombo, MP, said it is imperative that efforts within the field of Sexual Reproductive Health Rights, HIV and Governance, should be approached from a human rights perspective, where participation, inclusion and accountability are the central principles.

“This approach views citizens not as passive receivers of services or beneficiaries of programs, but as active rights holders, who should be empowered to claim their rights. Parliamentarians can play an important role in empowering the people to claim their rights,” he said.

On her part, the visiting SADC PF Secretary General, Ms. Boemo Sekgoma, described the project as important as it deals with participatory democracy.

She highlighted that the project links issues of climate justice, peace and security, tourism and agriculture and the bearing they have on sexual and reproductive health.

The Clerk of Parliament, Fiona Kalemba noted that the second phase of the project which Malawi participated ended on a high note with successes such as increased family planning budgetary allocations. She cited the general increase in family planning budget allocation from K200 million in the 2021/2022 to K475 million in the 2022/2023 allocation.

The initial phase of the Parliament of Malawi, SADC PF SRHR project commenced in November 2023 and is expected to run through October 2026.

SADC PF is a regional inter-parliamentary body composed of Members of Parliament from SADC member state national parliaments, representing over 3,500 parliamentarians in the SADC Region.

The aim of the Forum is to provide a platform to support and improve regional integration through parliamentary involvement and promote best practices in the role of parliaments in regional integration and cooperation.

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