Malawi: Emma Kalea

Date: July 22, 2019
  • SHARE:

Name Emma
Surname Kalea
Country Malawi
Give a short history of the leader I have a Bachelors Degree in Arts Humanities from the University of Malawi, Chancellor College and a Masters in Development Studies that I am currently pursuing at Chancellor College. I have eight years working experience in gender and development specifically four years in youth advocacy and another four years in sexual minority advocacy . My advocacy work started with a youth programme which is still running now called ‘Young Women Can Do It’ the programme has and inspires many young women to be active in development programs happening at community level . My role in the program was to establish the concept among the young women in Malawi and involve them into clubs where they would discuss and take lead in community initiatives such as tree planting programs , social accountability of local development funds usage at their district level. The program is a success and was duplicated in Zambia and its still active. Currently, i am working with and for the creation of an enabling environment for the sexual minorities in Malawi through advocacy work at international, regional and national level using the international and regional human rights reporting mechanism at United Nations, African Commission and also the relevant government ministries such as the Ministry of Justice , Ministry of Gender and Ministry of Health on access to health and protection rights for the LGBTI persons. I am also a board for a very strong NGO that works for girl child protection called Girls Empowerment Network ( GENET). My work and passion in gender goes beyond the gender concept of women empowerment as it also includes other minority groups based on sexual orientation and gender identity etc .
Objectives I am passionate with my advocacy work and am committed to work for and with vulnerable populations in Malawi. I believe that through my work I will bring change and contribute to the creation of an enabling environment for the vulnerable population in Malawi.
Key activities My nature of work requires many reading reading materials and understanding the LGBTI issues and link them to gender advocacy issues and mapping out stakeholders that i can influence change. It also requires a close interaction with the community i am representing everyday. This is a challenging work as i meet many stigma from the stakeholders who are not willing to participate in my advocacy meetings; name calling sometimes that i am advocating for satanic issues; being labelled as a community member – stigma by association .
Key challenges Gender equality challenge in my organisation is that we are currently using a draft gender policy that needs to be adopted by the management and there is progress that the developed gender policy will be approved by the management in the next board meeting which will happen in the 3rd Quarter. There is not much resources allocated to gender as most funding goes towards HIV related interventions, this as a results affects most of the gender programming at organisational level.


Change at the individual level Championing gender has had a positive impact both on my personal and professional life. In my personal life am able to stand up for equality for other women private lives that i find myself trapped in as a woman. I have confidence and strength and in my professional life I am able to mobilize and influence other similar minded women to stand up for equality and also allow the other marginalized population to stand up for their rights through all the accessible platforms.
Evidence of change at the individual level ‘Emma is fearless and passionate in her gender activism she takes it on a very controversial point of view by standing up for the LGBTI and sex workers rights’. This is one qoute that Emma Kaliya used during the consultation meeting for the application of this summit . Emma Kaliya works for the MHRCC.
Change at the household level Within my family circle am respected for my strong belief in equality and strong perspective on inclusive rights that should not discriminate others due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Evidence of change at the household level In my family i remember my grandmother telling my mother that if a man wants to marry me that man should be charged less lobola fee for Emma to refund back once the man oppresses her rights. My mother Shupekile Mhango Kalea, High Court of Malawi , Secretary .
Change at institutional level Development of the Draft Gender Policy and Sexual Harassment Policy . Paul Tsoka Banda , Centre for the Development of People, Human Resource Officer.
Evidence of change at institutional level Development of the Draft Gender Policy and Sexual Harassment Policy . Paul Tsoka Banda , Centre for the Development of People, Human Resource Officer.
Change at a policy level At international level i have championed in the inclusion of the LGBTI in the concluding observation at CEDAW Session on Article 1 that was included within the Draft of the National Action Plan for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights in Malawi. And also submission of list of issues to the CEDAW and UPR committee on LGBTI issues.
Development and publication of the Human Rights Report based on Real or Perceived Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.
Evidence of change at a policy level Initial Concluding CEDAW report and UPR recommendation for Malawi from their UN website.

Capacity building Training on Gender and Sexuality Concepts.
Lessons learned and shared The understanding of the gender concept using sexuality concepts where participants were able to understand the concept of sexual orientation and gender identity.
The presentation was an eye opener to the participants.
Next Steps More capacity training on sexual orientation and gender identity in relation to promotion and protection of human rights.