The LGPI in Malawi: Selected Findings on Gender

Malawi’s context raises a number of challenges that the government, traditional leaders, civil society, and the development community are working to address. One area of particular focus is gender equality and women’s empowerment. The LGPI supports this effort by providing evidence-based research to inform the extent to which gender inequalities exist across sectors, cultural contexts, and localities. Drawing on the Malawi LGPI, this report assesses the extent to which women and men across different regions of the country, matrilineal and patrilineal cultural groups, and socioeconomic statuses access health and education services equally, experience more or less secure environments, and participate politically.

The LGPI in Malawi: Selected Findings from 15 Districts

The analysis presented in this report draws from the Local Governance Performance Index (LGPI), implemented in Malawi from March 24 to April 27, 2016. The LGPI provides a new approach to the measurement, analysis, and improvement of local governance. The tool aims to help countries collect, assess, and benchmark detailed information concerning issues of local and public-sector performance and service delivery to citizens and businesses. The goals are to provide information to help pinpoint, diagnose, and foster discussion among citizens, policymakers, and the development community regarding areas of need; help formulate policy recommendations; provide a benchmark for assessing policy implementation; and allow us to examine the factors driving good governance and quality service provision. The survey was fielded in 15 of Malawi’s 28 districts, spanning all three administrative regions. Within each region, traditional authorities (TA) or, in urban areas, local council wards were randomly selected for the study. A total of 18 traditional authorities and four urban wards, from three regional strata, were selected according to the principle of probability proportional to size. This document presents key findings from each of the 15 districts sampled. In particular, findings related to livelihoods, health, land, and education are highlighted.

The LGPI in Malawi: Selected Findings on Health

Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world. Gross national income per capita is just $747 U.S., and nearly 51 percent of the population resides below the national poverty line.  As such, much of the population suffers from health ailments. This report draws on data from the Local Government Performance Index (LGPI)—a heavily clustered, multidimensional, experience-based survey implemented in Malawi from March 24 to April 27, 2016. The LGPI records the frequency of illnesses and chronic diseases among Malawians, Malawians’ ability to access health-care services, and the quality of those services. The data allows us to analyze the relationship between disease incidence and socio-demographic indices, such as gender, education, geographical location, and wealth. The results of this analysis can easily be compared with extant data from government and non-government sources.

The LGPI in Malawi: Selected Findings on Education

Malawi has been unable to achieve its desired goal of universal primary education. It is estimated that over 4.3 million children are currently enrolled in the first two stages of the Malawian education cycle. However, approximately 11 percent of primary school–age children are still outside the school system. Additionally, high dropout rates have an impact on the number of students completing their education. In 2007, the chances of a student completing all eight years of primary education was 32 percent, and students had only a 9 percent chance of completing all 12 years of primary and secondary education. This report draws on data from the Local Government Performance Index (LGPI)—a heavily clustered, multidimensional, experience-based survey implemented in Malawi from March 24 to April 27, 2016—to highlight the challenges Malawians face in education and mechanisms people develop to solve problems regarding their children’s education.

The LGPI in Malawi: Selected Findings on Land

Land is particularly important in Malawi. Eighty-four percent of the country’s population live in rural areas, and most of the rural population depends on agriculture for its livelihood. Yet, almost all agricultural activity takes place on only 21,200 square kilometers of arable land. Malawi is densely populated (with 183 inhabitants per square kilometer, significantly higher than the continental average of 42) and land-dependent. It is not surprising, then, that land is highly valued, a source of conflict, and politically important.