WLA & WOJAM @ #AIDS2018!

Members from WLA and WOJAM are participating in the 22nd International AIDS Conference #AIDS2018 being held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands from 23-27 July 2018.  See some highlights of our participation below:

22 July Global Dialogue: HIV, Rights and Law in the Era of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Hall 11a, RAI Amsterdam


10:00 – 11:45, Hon. Justice Zione Ntaba (WOJAM)

New and emerging issues in HIV-related science and the lessons for HIV and the law

23 July Satellite Session on “Results and Successes of the GF Africa Regional HIV Grant-Removing Legal Barriers” 12:30-2:30pm

E105-108, RAI Amsterdam


12:30 – 2:30, Hon. Justice Zione Ntaba (WOJAM)

Linking the Africa Regional Judges Forum experience to redress of human rights violations of Key Populations

Beyond Blame: Challenging HIV Criminalisation

HIV Justice Network

De Balie Kleine Gartmanplantsoen 10, 1017 Amsterdam

Tweet any comments or questions using the hashtag #BeyondBlame2018

12:10 – 1:00, Sarai Chisala-Tempelhoff (WLA)

‘Women and HIV criminalisation: Feminist perspectives’

Session will be live streamed to HIV JUSTICE WORLDWIDE’s YouTube channel: www.tiny.cc/hivjustice


2:00 – 3:30, Sarai Chisala-Tempelhoff (WLA)

Breakout Session, Workshop on Legal Strategies


24 July Poster Exhibitions


Poster Exhibition area, Hall 1

RAI Amsterdam


12:30-14:30, Annabel Raw, SALC

My body my right! The power of women’s advocacy in defeating HIV criminalisation in Malawi’s HIV Bill


25 July Press Conference: JIAS expert consensus statement on HIV Criminalization

Press Conference Room 2, Room G109, RAI Amsterdam


2:30 – 3:15, Sarai Chisala-Tempelhoff (WLA)

Expert Consensus Statement on HIV in the Context of Criminal Law


IAS Facebook Live: AIDS2018Live!

Booth #108 (Exhibition) RAI Amsterdam


16:00 – 16:30, Sarai Chisala-Tempelhoff (WLA)

#HIVIsNotACrime: Reaching consensus to drive action

The live-streaming of those sessions as well as the archived recordings will be available online: www.aids2018.org/Live

26 July AIDS-Free World’s Legal Consultation Center

Global Village, Booth 648


9:00 – 11:00, Sarai Chisala-Tempelhoff (WLA)

Health Rights Lawyer Consultation https://aidsfreeworld.org/legal-consultation-center/


WLA & WOJAM participation in #AIDS2018 was supported by HIV Justice Network & UNDP

GIZ visit to new WLA Offices in Lilongwe

During the 16 Days of Activism against GBV in 2017, the Women Lawyers Association of Malawi (WLA) was honored to be the recipient of a donation of office furniture, stationery and a passenger vehicle from the Malawi Offices of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ). This donation was both timely and critical and has enabled WLA to open the doors of a small secretariat in Lilongwe – a space that can be used to better meet our objectives of providing legal assistance to women and children. The secretariat also serves as a meeting space, and eventually a resource centre, for the members of WLA.

The GIZ Malawi Country Director, Dr Dagmar Lumm (pictured below with a colleague from GIZ and members of WLA) visited the WLA offices to learn more about the Association and the critical work that we do. The visit was enlightening for all – the members explained about the challenges faced by WLA and the efforts that have been made to ensure that we are able to provide essential legal services to women and children, especially survivors of gender based violence: WLA has set up a special fund to cover the legal fees for GBV survivors; we host legal clinics both online using our Facebook page and in person; WLA works as a watchdog of legislation and policy that has implications on the rights of women and children; and, we also issue public statements on topical issues that affect women and children of Malawi. Dagmar and Margret shared their experiences of the similar struggles faced by women and children in Germany and the measures that have helped to lessen the incidences of violence but also enhance the overall response to GBV.

This conversation and donation is relevant to the work of WLA in Malawi, but we all recognized that the conversation about violence faced by women and children is a global one. The WLA fund for GBV survivors can also be considered a local effort to show that even in Malawi #TimesUp for sexual harassment and other forms of GBV.

The images of the visit were captured by Maria Thundu of MARS Photography.

This visit also served as the soft launch of the WLA Secretariat. The Secretariat has been undergoing extensive renovation and is only open a few days of the week as we finalize the renovation and recruit an officer to receive complainants and manage the administrative work of the Association. The Secretariat will be used for future legal clinics, training workshops and other WLA events.

Follow our social media accounts to keep abreast of upcoming events and to find out the details of our open days when one of the WLA members will be working at the Secretariat to receive and handle complaints.

The Women Lawyers Association of Malawi once again expresses its deep and sincere gratitude to the GIZ for their generous donation, this contribution to our work has enhanced our capacity to better serve the women and children of Malawi.

Zikomo kwambiri


Sarai Chisala-Tempelhoff


President’s Message

Dear WLA Members,

It is truly humbling to have been elected to serve as the President of this Association. I still recall how excited I was to participate in the meetings and activities of WLA when I was first called to the bar. It was an honour then. It remains an honour now. I thank you for entrusting me with this role, and I pledge to serve you to the best of my abilities. Firstly I thank the former leadership for taking the lead in helping to revive WLA and enabling this transition.

I want to see WLA strengthened and united in achieving our stated aims and objectives, and particularly to see it become an organisation that is professionally and personally rewarding to its members. When I first joined you could count the number of female lawyers there were in Malawi. Now over 126 women have completed the WLA registration survey! We are a young association – 82% are between the ages 21-39. Almost all of our members, 94%, are employed and are working full time. We have the numbers and certainly the capacity to build a strong, relevant and formidable institution.

The newly elected executive committee has spent a significant amount of time discussing and planning on the best way to keep the Association relevant to its members and make WLA work. In the coming weeks members will receive a series of emails from WLA leadership, there are a few key steps that we need to take as an organization and it is my sincere hope that we can count on you. Here is just a snippet of what is in store for us and what will be required of you:

  1. Invoices for WLA membership fees! I urge you to pay your annual subscription – and any additional pledges you made to help get the Association back on its feet. We have started off the year with grand dreams and an empty kitty. Members who have subscribed by paying the annual fee will be eligible for a number of benefits including: discounted or waived fees for trainings and social events; notifications of job/publishing/travel opportunities; first consideration when there are sponsored trips; and being featured in the online member directory among others.
  2. Invitation to the chapter meeting for the election of the WLA Chapters leadership. The Association is only as strong as its membership and the Chapters are the easiest way to keep connected with other members and to participate in WLA professional and social activities. Chapters are expected to meet and elect new leadership within the next two weeks. Young women are particularly encouraged to come forward and stand for office or vote in new leadership.
  3. Publication of the WLA Calendar of Events! There are a series of events that are in the works – the first will be a “Know your Association” session followed by a women’s and children’s rights training session in preparation for our first series of legal clinics! We are also planning a social event to foster networking in a more relaxed environment. Women in the Lilongwe Chapter have already started meeting and training for netball social matches, we hope that the Blantyre, Zomba and Mzuzu Chapters will soon follow suite and keep the rest of the members abreast of the activities – especially via social media! Post your pictures on the WLA Facebook Page, follow and tag @WLAMalawi on Twitter.  Update members on the whatsapp group (if you haven’t been added to the whatsapp group send a request via email info@womenlawyersmalawi.com)
  4. Be a mentor, be a mentee – you will also receive a really brief survey to find out who is interested in being a mentor or being mentored and commence a structured process of matching people up for a unique and enriching mentorship experience. This project promises to be an excellent means for bringing back the invaluable learning and leadership exchanges between senior members of the Association and the incredible (and rapidly growing) community of young lawyers!

Our current priorities include re-establishing (and maintaining) a secretariat and building up strong foundation through membership, member engagement, resource mobilisation, continuing legal education, mentorship, networking, partnership building and SERVICE. I have such vivid memories of WLA being synonymous with service for the most vulnerable members of Malawian society – women and children. This call to service led to the establishment of WLA and is a prominent aspect for the continuing relevance of the association, not just to its members but to the broader Malawian society.

WLA membership should have a clear and definitive impact on our personal and professional lives, it should matter to us and to those around us. I am so excited to be a part of this new chapter in the Association’s story and I look forward to a vibrant WLA!

Best wishes to you all for this year.

Sarai Chisala-Tempelhoff