CHIKWAWA: Get Up! Speak Out (GUSO) project has empowered girls in Chikwawa with defensive skills that will enable them overcome an attack in form of rape and defilement in view of increasing cases of gender based violence where girls fall prey to such abuses.
Speaking on Wednesday during an interaction with youths under the project in the area of chiefs Ngabu and Lundu, GUSO Malawi Country Focal Person, Loan Liem said she noticed that there was a lot of work to be done in an attempt to bring sanity on issues of sexual and gender based violence.
She said one of the interventions was to empower girls in particular with self defence skills through basic karate stances to effectively protect themselves in the face of a sexual attack for rape or defilement.
There is more that the country has to do. Some issues are not seen and thus could be in homes or involve some senior members of the community. But more often, men could fuel such issues which in the end negatively affect our girls and women, Liem observed.
Liem added that if men and women, girls and boys understood each other better, the nation could manage to address issues of gender based violence. She, however, called on partners working on youth empowerment and in HIV and Aids response to join hands in ensuring their activities were in the interest of the youth.
One of the girls who underwent the trainings, Loyce Huwa, 24, from the area of Paramount Chief Lundu said at the beginning they thought the self defence drills were a difficult task but that they had benefitted in terms of physical fitness and were ready to defend themselves from an attack.
We can now defend ourselves on any attack such as rape and other forms of abuse. The only challenge we face as girls is that in most cases, boys receive more favors than us. We obviously need such forums where we can be empowered to voice out our concerns, Huwa said.
Gift Tambala from Tomali Village also in Paramount Lundu’s area echoed Huwa’s sentiments, saying time had now come for girls to be empowered with various skills, adding that from the way the girls displayed their defensive tactics it really showed they had acquired the necessary self defense skills.
SIMAVI of Netherlands financially supports GUSO project in Chikwawa which is being implemented by Centre for Alternatives for Victimized Women and Children (CAVWOC).
The Get Up, Speak Out: For Youth Rights project running from 2016 � 2020 aims at improving sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people. In Chikwawa, the project is implemented as a consortium involving organizations such as CAVWOC, Youth Empowerment and Civic Education, Coalition of Women Living with HIV and Aids and Youth Net and Counseling.
Source: Malawi News Agency MANA