As one way of advancing levels of knowledge in open contracting, the Center for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) with funding from African Freedom Information Center (AFIC) held a two days training workshop with women entrepreneurs. The workshop, whose objective was to appreciate the levels of awareness and knolwedg on open contracting, targeted 40 women in both formal and informal sector.
Inceptionally, the training workshop centered on assessing women experiences in accessing procurement information in open contracting. These women were trained in open contracting, its advantages and the laws under public procurement and disposal of assets.
The training articulated the social-cultural, legal and gender relational factors that affect women participation in public procurement and open contracting. Business women also brainstormed recommendations on how to improve women participation in public contracting. Among the key recommendations that came out included intensive civic education for women so that they are aware of opportunities that are there for them in public contracting, capacity building of women on how to bid for government contracts and also having a data base of the women in business so that whenever there is government tender, selection can be made on the list.
On his part, Programmes Manager for CHRR, Michael Kaiyatsa, expressed excitement with the workshops outcomes. “We wish to assure participants that CHRR will continue to contribute towards the protection, promotion and consolidation of good governance by empowering rural and urban communities in Malawi to be aware of and exercise their rights in open contracting as well as maintaining a well-informed society in accessing open contracting information” said Mr Kaiyatsa.
CHRR has since been carrying a baseline research with various government and private institutions with the aim of cross-examining various levels of gender mainstreaming in relation to women participation and decision making in open contracting and government partnership. Access to information one open contracting is one of the key issues CHRR is heavly advocating for in its project.