Skip to content

Wrap-up of CSW68 from IDinsight

28 March 2024

Sessions reflected on the role of data and evidence in advancing gender equity specifically through improved social protection systems.

Standing (L-R): Dajna Sorensen (UNDP), T. Arthur Chibwana (IDinsight), Wezzie Mtonga (Plan International), Laurent Kansinjiro (Ministry of Gender SCTP), Emily Coppel (IDinsight), Letty Chiwara (UN Women). Seated (L-R): Frida Njogu-Ndongwe (IDinsight), Dr. Esmie Kainja (Ministry of Local Government National Unity and Culture), Hon. Jean Sendeza (Minister of Gender, Community Development & Social Welfare), Dr. Agnes Mary Chimbiri-Molande (Permanent Representative of Malawi to the UN) Ambassador Agnes Molande (Parliament Representative, Malawi).

Over the last two weeks, several IDinsighters attended the 68th Commission on the Status of Women in New York City at the United Nations Headquarters. The week brings together government, civil society, research, UN entities, and other stakeholders to renew commitments to advancing women and allocate resources to improving gender equality.

This year, the IDinsight team spoke at three events and focused on how government partners can use data and evidence to improve social protection programs with examples of progress and learning.

On March 11, IDinsight’s T. Arthur Chibwana moderated a panel on accelerating gender equality through social protection and digital innovation in Malawi in partnership with Plan International. Panelists discussed the progress governments, including the Government of Malawi, have registered in ensuring that social protection policies and public infrastructure are gender-inclusive and what strategic opportunities exist to advance gender equality. Further, the panelists expanded to share how evidence (including disaggregated data) has been a major driver in building gender-responsive programs and to what extent program implementers have adopted innovations to integrate gender in programs such as humanitarian responses in the face of a digital wave. 

On March 13, IDinsight’s Regional Director, East and Southern Africa, Frida Njogu-Ndongwe, spoke on a research roundtable as part of UNICEF’s We Deserve Better: Unlocking the Power of Social Protection for Women and Girls. Panelists discussed opportunities for further inclusion for women and girls in social protection policies, including participating in the process.

“We need to help young women not only cope with digital transitions and looming planetary crises – but also thrive amidst them. No one, particularly young women should be left behind.” – Urmila Sarkar, Deputy Director, Programmes – Generation Unlimited (UNICEF) said.

“We know that cash plus programs work and are gender responsive and we need to have these instruments also supported by the private sector to have scaffolding surrounding women.” – Laura B Rawlings, Lead Economist, World Bank.

“How do we shift the power so women and girls aren’t just the researched? We need to fund women and feminist researchers and methodologies to challenge the hierarchy of evidence,” said Frida Njogu-Ndongwe, IDinsight Regional Director, East and Southern Africa.

On March 14th, IDinsight co-hosted a panel with the Malawi Minister of Gender, Community Development, and Social Welfare featuring IDinsight, UNWomen, Plan International, and the Malawi Government. Speakers discussed the opportunities and challenges to strengthening social protection programs with data and evidence including considerations the government took when evolving to mobile-first platforms; the evolution of the social cash transfer program under COVID-19 to reach newly vulnerable populations; and how the ministry will further expand the program and better serve people amidst multiple climate crises and evolving challenges.

“This is why, our government, and particularly my Ministry, has partnered with organizations such as IDinsight, UNICEF, and World Bank, to invest in research that informs how we design our delivery strategies, decide on the targeting approach, and use digital technology optimally, for impact on vulnerable people including girls and women…. As our President, His Excellency Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, has emphasised, we want to leave no one in need behind!.” – Hon Jean Sendeza (Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare).

“At IDinsight we are looking to use evidence throughout the entire pipeline – including support for policy design, implementation, and monitoring. In partnership with the Malawi Ministry of Gender, Community Development, and Social Welfare we’re focused on women’s economic empowerment as part of its Social Cash Transfer program. Our process evaluation on their cash-plus add-ons pilot is informing the national scale-up,” said Frida Njogu-Ndongwe, IDinsight Regional Director, East and Southern Africa.