The latest Urban Talks even took place last night at Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe. Sponsored by UN-Habitat and organised by the Urban Research Institute, the public debate took on the topics of inequality, women, and youth in the city. On the panel were Pamela Mkwanda, UN Women; Harvey Chimaliro, Concerned Youth Organisation; Maggie Banda, Women Legal Resource Center; Justin Saidi, Principal Secretary Ministry of Youth Development and Sports; and Annie Chinoko-Soko, a community leader from Mtandire settlement.
The debate focused on lack of employment opportunities for youth, and challenges in accessing quality education facing both boys and girls, but girls to a larger degree. Panelists also spoke about the many challenges facing women in the city, including access to water, adequate housing, and safe and affordable transportation. Given the upcoming tripartite elections in May, women’s participation in political processes and indeed standing for elections also came up, with panelists noting that cultural conservatism discourages women from entering the political arena. The debate was broadcast live on Zodiak radio.