Women and Law in Southern Africa Research and Educational Trust Malawi National Office (WLSA-Malawi) is an action – oriented research organization founded in 1998. The main objective of WLSA is to conduct research that supports action to improve the socio-legal position of women. WLSA has offices in seven countries of Southern Africa: Malawi, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe, with a regional office in Lusaka, Zambia. These six by National Offices were founded in 1987 by a group of lawyers and social scientists.

WLSA-Malawi was established as part of the WLSA regional family 10 years after WLSA’s initial inception in 1998.

WLSA-Malawi is the only organization in Malawi that champions an approach to law reform, which considers the intersection between women’s rights, gender equality and the law, and applies a gender and human rights approach to HIV prevention and management as well as women’s property rights. In the last three years WLSA Malawi has become one of the leading voices with regards to women’s reproductive health rights mainly focusing on safe abortion and child marriages and the correlation thereof.

WLSA-Malawi has a high degree of visibility nationally, regionally, and internationally and plays a strategic role in engaging with policy- and law- makers to effect positive change.

Since its inception into WLSA, the Malawi National Office has conducted five grounded action-researches and have since published two reports. These include;

  • In Search of Justice: Women and the Administration of Justice Delivery in Malawi (2000)- published
  • Dispossessing the Widow: Gender Based Violence In Malawi (2002)- published
  • Feminization of HIV/AIDS in Malawi: Women’s Right to Life and Factors That Create Vulnerability to HIV Transmission
  • Women And HIV/AIDS In Six Districts In Malawi: Balancing The Equation Between Grounded Realities And The Appropriateness Of The Response
  • Poor, Invisible and Excluded: Women in State Custody Malawi

Apart from the above WLSA Malawi has published a number of publications including:

  • Discussing the Prevention of Domestic Violence Legislation in Malawi: Multi-sectoral Perspectives (2003);
  • Domestic Violence Awareness Handbook (2003);
  • WLSA Malawi 5 Years in Review (2003);
  • Beyond Inequalities, Women in Malawi (2005);
  • Gender, what does it entail? Engendering Parliament in Malawi (2005),
  • Contributing towards the Realization of Women’s Human Rights and Gender Justice: Recommendations for a More Equitable Constitution Blantyre Malawi (2006).

WLSA Malawi has undertaken work in both its research and action programmes in collaboration with the Ministry of Women and Child Development, the Ministry of Justice, the Law Commission, District Commissioners, the judiciary, traditional leaders, the police service, other NGOs, international donors and women’s rights advocates and organizations.  WLSA-Malawi was instrumental in the passage of a law on domestic violence in Malawi in April 2006, an achievement that is unprecedented by any other NGO in Malawi. This was the result of strategic lobbying WLSA-Malawi undertook from beginning in 2001. In addition, various stakeholders have used WLSA-Malawi’s research findings to advocate for legal and policy changes in Malawi. The Special Commission on Gender-Related Laws has also followed a recommendation made in WLSA-Malawi’s study on wills and inheritance to review Malawi’s Wills and Inheritance Act.  This has also resulted into the passing of the new Inheritance law called: Deceased Estates (Wills, Inheritance and Protection) Act in 2011.