National Engagement Strategy

As of 2015, NES Malawi's achievements include: 

  • Unifying civil society's voice on land issues leading to a common advocacy agenda on land and natural resources management matters, coordinated by the Landnet secretariat;
  • Drafting a joint civil society position paper on the Land bills review process, submitted to government by all civil society;
  • Orienting civil society, government officials and grassroots organisations on the Voluntary Guidelines on Land Tenure 
  • Developing a Malawi Shadow report on the Convention on the Elemination of all Forms of Discrimation against Women (CEDAW) developed by Landnet and a joint team of civil society.  

What is a National Engagement Strategy? Learn more HERE

Contact details: 

Mrs Felistus Nthunzi I NES Facilitator

Country context: 

A trend of continued land concentration is leaving Malawi's most economically valuable land in the hands of a small number of actors, while some of the country's poorest, including women, are cut off from access. Insecurity of tenure is on the rise, and now more than ever, land is being lost to foreign investors or to large-scale domestic land users. 

In recent years, a number of “land grabs” by large-scale investors, have left dispossessed farmers with no compensation and without recourse to justice. Moreover, the number of disputes and conflicts related to land and other natural resources (such as water) has escalated, with women being increasingly marginalised when it comes to land ownership.  

Malawi's current land regime is governed by the Land Act of 1965.  Attempts at reform and decentralisation over the past 18 years include the Malawi National Land Policy (MNLP) of 2002.  The MNLP was seen as an initial step towards revising the legal framework governing land rights, so that security of tenure could be improved, and land administration could be decentralised to the local and district levels. The MNLP also advocated for the introduction of land tribunals, better access to land records, and improved public participation in land governance. The policy led to the formulation of the Land Law (Amendment) Bill of 2006, though this was not adopted.

Country strategy: 

The objective of the Malawi NES is to encourage a strong and influential collective voice which can impact the country's national policy space on issues of land, leading to progressive land laws in Malawi.  

Strategic objectives to achieving this include maintaining a strong, unified coordinated civil society voice; domesticating and popularising the Voluntary Guidelines on Tenure, the Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa and the Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investment in Malawi; ensuring the the new Land Law is progressive, people centred and that it is enacted by the end of 2016; to ensure that the new Land Law is implemented for the benefit of the people through awareness raising of new land laws within communities; ensuring that the new Land Law is gender sensitive and responsive to the needs of women; ensuring that rural women's voices are at centre of decision making on Land issues in Malawi, through the Kilimanjaro Rural Women’s Initiative and building community resilience and secure access to justice to remedy land grabs for displaced/vulnerable communities.