Mulanje: Malawi Girl Guides Association (MAGA) on Saturday joined government and its developmental partners in launching 16 days of activism against gender based violence campaign with a call to sensitize girls and young women on their rights.
The campaign runs from November 25th to December 10th 2018 under a global theme End gender based violence in the world of work. However, in Mulanje the theme was contextualized to I won’t be silent.
The campaign started with a big walk from Nkhonya trading centre to Mulanje district council office where MAGA and other stakeholders presented a petition to Mulanje district council.
Chief Commissioner for MAGA in Mulanje Mary Ngwale said most girls and women are infringed of their rights in homes, schools and work places and as such are unable to report GBV matters to relevant authorities.
We know that both men and women suffer from gender based violence with men deciding to be silent. However it is girls and young women who suffer a lot and unfortunately most of these girls are not aware of their rights and do not know where to report to when they encounter such cases, she said.
Mulanje district top the list in HIV prevalence rate among girls and young women in the country and Ngwira said this is in a way due to some harmful cultural practices that expose girls and young women to HIV virus being practiced in the district.
She then asked the council to help in finding lasting solutions to the different concerns raised in the petition.
We need to teach these children about their rights and how they can go about it when it comes to reporting such cases. This is why we want our district commissioner to help us in finding the solutions to the concerns we are raising. She said.
Upon receiving the petition, chief administration officer for Mulanje council, Grey Nkwanda assured the gathering that the council would be active in the fight against gender based violence especially during the 16 days of activism.
In our budget these are some of the issues we have included and in addition there are a number of donors that are coming in to support the same interventions. he said.
Nkwanda added We want to remove the gender based violence spirit in our communities and that is why we are working with different partners including the police. We have cases that are in courts, so in both the immediate and long run we are moving in the right direction.
Nkwanda echoed sentiments made by Ngwale that both men and women suffer from gender based violence citing culture and power relations in families as main culprits of gender based violence in the district.
Much as we appreciate that women are hard working but in the Mang’anja culture we find that the bread winner is deprived of his or her own resources. Whenit comes property grabbing it is difficult to determine the beneficiaries of that property when one dies, said Nkwanda.
The 16 days of activism against gender based violence is an international campaign originating from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute coordinated by the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership.
Source: Malawi News Agency MANA