Celebrating the women championing #DigitALL in their work: Kasweka Malenji, Management Analyst (Digital Transformation), UNDP Zambia

March 8, 2023
UNDP Zambia's Management Analyst, Kasweka Malenji, on IWD 2023

UNDP Zambia's Management Analyst, Kasweka Malenji, celebrating International Women's Day 2023

Image captured by: Vanessa Wematu Akibate/UNDP Zambia

Kasweka Malenji is a Management Analyst at UNDP Zambia, leading the design and implementation of the Country Office’s Digital Transformation. Through her work, she influences the daily processes of the office and promotes SDG 5: to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. 

“My enthusiasm to join the field of innovation and technology was sparked by the ability to discover new and innovate ways of doing ‘business as usual’, making day-to-day tasks accessible, interactive, efficient, and agile.”
Kasweka Malenji

This year’s International Women’s Day theme, #DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality, has called for the world to reassess women and girls place in technology and innovation, towards enhancing digital inclusion and empowering women and girls for leadership in technology and digital innovation. In our work across 170 countries and territories, the UNDP advocates for women and girls to enhance digital inclusion and empower women and girls to lead in digital spaces.

However, according to UN Women, and Genevieve Smith and Ishita Rustagi for the Stanford Social Innovation Review, a global analysis of 133 AI systems from 1988 to today revealed that 44.2% of AI systems displayed gender bias, with 25.7% of these systems exhibiting both gender and racial biases. These biases filtered into technology contribute to the lower service quality, unequal resource distribution and the reinforcement of harmful stereotypes for women – a consequence that is only compounded for women and girls in Africa that are additionally prone to be affected by racial biases.

With growing inequalities within the technology and digital space, it has become crucial now more than ever to ensure that women are strategically included in the design, creation, and use of digital technologies to close the digital divide. Through increased women’s representation and participation in the creation, use and regulation of technology, digital tools and services can be used to create safer, more equitable solutions to development problems around the world.

Kasweka demonstrates the power that including women in digital technology has to create solutions that promote gender equality. 

“Recently developed a Gender Seal Platform to track the CO progress towards the attainment of the Gender Equality Seal. “The Gender Equality Seal for UNDP Country Offices promotes an organizational culture of gender equality and incentivizes country offices to meet standards by integrating gender into all aspects of our development work.” The tool has successfully supported the CO to track our implementation towards transformational gender equality results and identify bottlenecks in good time.” – Kasweka recalls.

While her contributions to the digital transformation of the Country Office cannot be understated, her work also showcases how this impact can ripple out into communities in Zambia to impact the lives of beneficiaries in Zambia. Describing what she enjoys about her work at the UNDP Country Office, she adds:

“The best part about working in UNDP, particularly in my job, is the opportunity to profoundly improve the way UNDP delivers to its beneficiaries in Zambia through the design and implementation of systems that contribute to the achievement of cost-efficient and effective services. This includes empowering UNDP women with enhanced digital knowledge and skills, and most importantly working on increasing accessibility to all.”