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.

The LGPI in Malawi: Selected Findings on Livelihood

Daily life for the average Malawian is characterized by an array of challenges. Given their reliance on subsistence agriculture, exposure to frequent climate shocks, and lack of a robust social safety net, many of the country’s citizens are trapped in a cycle of poverty. In response to these challenges, Malawians have developed a variety of coping mechanisms, primarily of an interpersonal nature. While there is some regional variation, the majority of Malawians report helping one another and engaging in mutually beneficial collective action on a regular basis. This reflects the fact that Malawian communities tend to be cohesive. It also reflects widely held perceptions that citizens must rely on each other, and not the state, when it comes to providing social insurance. That said, Malawians participate in formal politics at a high rate.

The Tunisian LGPI: Selected Findings on Political Participation

Political participation has become increasingly important in Tunisia following the Arab uprisings of 2011. Tunisia has taken significant steps toward democracy and done so in a relatively peaceful manner, avoiding the violent chaos and authoritarian resurrection seen in other Arab Spring countries. In October 2011, a Constituent Assembly election was held, and the new Tunisian constitution was passed in January 2014. In 2014, the parliamentary election was held in October, and two rounds of presidential elections were held in November and December, marking the completion of a four-year transitional period.

The Tunisian LGPI: Selected Findings on Gender

Tunisia has long been at the forefront of efforts to promote women’s rights in the Arab world, beginning with the 1956 passage by Prime Minister (later President) Habib Bourguiba of the region’s most secular and progressive Code of Personal Status. The code abolished polygamy and unilateral divorce, granted women the right to initiate divorce, and set a minimum age for marriage. In the years since Tunisian independence (which took place from 1952 to 1956), women have expanded their roles in the labor force and in politics. In 2004, the dominant party, the National Rally for Democracy (RCD), implemented gender quotas at the local, regional, and national levels, bringing the proportion of seats held by women in the national parliament to 23 percent and at the local level to 27percent.