Consultant to undertake a Comprehensive Mapping and Analysis of National Laws in Malawi as a Step Towards the Elimination of Discriminatory Laws

Advertised on behalf of :

Location : Lilongwe, MALAWI
Application Deadline :16-May-21 (Midnight New York, USA)
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :National Consultant
Languages Required :
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
Duration of Initial Contract :45 Days

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.


UN Women, grounded in the vision of equality enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, works for the elimination of discrimination against women and girls; the empowerment of women; and the achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security.

Malawi has made some progress, particularly towards strengthening the legal and policy framework relating to gender. Malawi has a strong policy and legal framework on Violence Against Women and Girls and Harmful Practices, has ratified most of the core UN human rights treaties, and has made improvements in the architecture for gender equality and violence prevention, mitigation, and response. In less than a decade, several significant pieces of legislation have been enacted. Recently, the government revised the constitution, aligning previously conflicting definitions of a child between the constitution and the Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Act, with the intention to end child marriages, and the By-Law framework for Traditional Leaders. A National Strategy on Ending Child Marriages (2018–2023) and the National Action Plan to Combat Gender Based Violence (2016-2021), have been developed to guide national efforts to this end.

However, Malawi continues to face a wide array of other human rights challenges including violence, stigma, and discrimination against women, children and minority groups including persons living with HIV, and persons with albinism. Lack of access to justice, severe prison overcrowding, a narrowing of civil society space and underinvestment in human rights infrastructure and accountability mechanisms continue to limit the most vulnerable from exercising their human rights. While there were attempts to raise awareness on human rights during the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy II (MGDS) implementation, such programmes in general remained uncoordinated, largely due to the absence of a National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP). As a result, the MGDS II did not serve as the framework envisioned for Government efforts to promote and protect the full range of human rights in Malawi, nor did it serve as a guide for concrete actions to improve the human rights situation over the many priority areas that were identified.

It is imperative therefore, to undertake a comprehensive review of all the laws, statutes, legislative instruments and other relevant and related government legal frameworks in Malawi.   The process will involve a comprehensive analysis of  legislative instruments from a gender perspective.  This aims at providing  an in-depth understanding of the current legal framework and the existence of gaps and discriminatory provisions, with the long-term vision of advocating for law reform to enact new laws or repeal or revise discriminatory legislation. The gender analysis will explore the vast spectrum of laws to assess their gender responsiveness and  highlight discriminatory provisions and gaps that would require  repeal, amended or enactment trough a law reform process.  Gender-sensitive legislation assumes “the integration of a gender perspective into all components of the legislative process—design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation to achieve the ultimate objective of equality between women and men.

The legal analysis will examine  discrimination in a broad sense – both direct namely, how the law explicitly treats women and men or girls and boys; and indirect that occurs when a law appears to be neutral on its face but discriminatory effect in practice on women because pre-existing inequalities are not addressed by the apparently neutral measure. The legal analysis will consist of a selective mapping of the national context for purposes of capturing all forms of legal frameworks (the constitution, statutes, legislative instruments, executive orders, administrative regulations, case law and other relevant and related government texts) and not only those which reference gender, women, or girls. The legal frameworks in question will cover all fields and sectors of law and will not be limited to legislation that is specifically related to women, girls or children. Each legal text will be pre-assessed, and a determination made as to how the provisions impact upon the achievement of gender equality.  The legal analysis will draw from international standards, such as the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the CEDAW Committee’s General Recommendation No. 28 on the Core Obligations of States Parties under Article 2 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Concluding observations from the CEDAW Committee, Committee on the Rights of the Child and Universal Periodic Review will also be taken in consideration.

UN Women Malawi is therefore commissioning a study to undertake a comprehensive mapping of Malawi laws with a view to ascertaining gaps in the law, as well as those which are discriminatory towards women and girls.


Duties and Responsibilities

Under the direct supervision of the Head of Programmes, the consultant will undertake the following tasks:

  • Undertake a comprehensive analysis of the laws in Malawi from a gender perspective, beginning from the social, cultural, economic and political context, underpinning the current state of affairs;
  • To conduct stakeholder meetings and ensure that relevant feedback emanating from the consultation process is incorporated into the final version of the report;
  • Produce a report that highlights areas of discrimination in law, gaps in the law and recommended actions by the legislative and executive arms of State.

Methodology and Scope of Work:

The consultant will undertake a comprehensive mapping of the legal landscape of Malawi  for purposes of capturing all forms of legal frameworks (the constitution, statutes, legislative instruments, executive orders, administrative regulations, case law and other relevant and related government legal frameworks).  The legal texts in question will cover legislation that is specifically related to women and girls, as well as other fields and sectors. Each legal text will be analyzed to determine how their provisions impact upon the achievement of gender equality.

The proposed desk review will be followed by a national consultation which brings together stakeholders to review the first draft of the report. The report outline will cover the following:

  1. The plural legal, political, social, economic and cultural context of Malawi
  2.  Commitments to global, regional and sub regional frameworks which advance gender equality;
  3. The extent to which these commitments have been translated into domestic law, identifiable gaps in the content of existing laws as well as implementation and the reasons for such gaps;
  4. An analysis of other sectoral laws and how these impact on the achievement of gender equality;
  5. An overview of the role that formal, informal and semi-formal courts have played in: (a) advancing gender equality; (b) reinforcing gender inequality or (c) both;
  6. In considering 1-5, the consultant will determine whether and how the laws in question explicitly treat women and men or girls and boys differently and/or indirectly based on being facially neutral on its face but discriminatory in effect due to pre-existing inequalities that are not addressed by the apparently neutral measure.
  7. Following the above narrative, the consultant will annex to the report, a table which encapsulates (1) the titles and dates of all the laws under investigation; (2) the sections which are explicitly or implicitly discriminatory; (3) gaps in the law; (4) the basis for arriving at these conclusions and (4) recommended actions to relevant stakeholders.


Below are specific deliverables of the assignment:

  • Inception report which outlines  the methodology and list of laws and judgements to be analyzed and their sources
  • Facilitate and document consultation with key stakeholders to identify the sectoral laws for revision;
  • Produce the first draft report of an analysis of laws of Malawi  from a gender perspective;
  • Facilitate and document the results of a  validation workshop on an existing draft of the report and integrate the recommendations of stakeholders;
  • Produce and submit a final draft report and brief of the assessment of laws of Malawi from a gender perspective


Core Values:

  • Respect for Diversity
  • Integrity
  • Professionalism

Core Competencies:

  • Awareness and Sensitivity Regarding Gender Issues
  • Accountability
  • Creative Problem Solving
  • Effective Communication
  • Inclusive Collaboration
  • Stakeholder Engagement
  • Leading by Example

Functional Competencies

  • Proven and excellent writing skills and publication history  and track record in gender and the law;
  • Ability to pragmatically apply in-depth knowledge and experience of issues and practices in the fields of judiciary systems; legal reform; gender equality,
  • Strong skills and experience in presenting evidence and ideas for policy and programme.
  • Consistently approaches work with energy and a positive, constructive attitude.
  • Demonstrates openness to change and ability to manage complexities.
  • Strong communications skills (written and oral)

Required Skills and Experience

  • Master’s degree in law or any other related field   
  • Minimum 10 years track record in research and data analysis related to gender and the law in Malawi and ability to undertake a gender analysis of such national legislation and policy documents;
  • Proven knowledge of relevant international and regional human rights norms and standards
  • Experience in managing and facilitating high-level dialogues, round table discussions, consultations, with stakeholders at both grassroots and national levels;
  • Experience in  working with Civil Society Organizations and Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government;
  • Proven experience in collecting , analyzing and interpreting complex qualitative and quantitative data. The consultant must have a track record of publications on gender, law and development as a condition to be considered for the assignment.
  • Excellent command of the English language (written and oral) is required;
  • Previous professional experience with development agencies and the United Nations would be considered an asset.

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