By Sylvester Kumwenda – Mana.
Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare, Patricia Kaliati has urged stakeholders to put in deliberate efforts to make sure women and girls are protected from Gender Based Violence (GBV) especially in this time of Covid-19, where by most male spouses are staying back home which was increasing risks of abuse.
She made the remarks Thursday in Lilongwe when she received a donation of various Covid-19 related materials from CARE Malawi, to be given to protection workers in Community Victim Support Units (CVSUs).
CARE Malawi has been conducting trainings in six districts of Kasungu, Nsanje, Salima, Chikwawa, Mchinji and Mulanje.
Kaliati said as many men are staying at home, working in shifts during this crisis, it is easy for them to get frustrated and manifest their anger through GBV.
“We have a number of early marriages, early pregnancies and gender based violence’s against women knowing that a number of men are not going to work and are always home and might be frustrated.
“As such they might take any little mistake by a woman as a serious one,” she said.
The Minister said protection workers against GBV are one of the crucial fronts in combating the violence because these are where victims and perpetrators are counselled, issues sorted and more data relating to the issue is gathered.
She said the donation would go a long way in helping protection workers in CVSUs against GBV especially in this time of Covid-19.
“As much as we are getting support from CARE Malawi, there are a number of business captains and stakeholders out there, we would like to ask them to come forward and support us especially during this period we have been hit by Covid-19,” Kaliati appealed.
She added saying it was high time men are civic educated more on the dangers of GBV and young boys to be taught of this at a tender age so as they become better spouses when they grow up.
CARE Malawi Country Director, Amos Zaindi said this was a continuation of their support they provide to CVSUs both in government and community level in the six districts.
He said as a result of Covid-19, there are reports of an increase of violence perpetrated towards women and the girl child.
“By equipping these protection workers with skills and equipment needed in discharging their duties, this he said is one way of protecting women. It was important to protect women because as a country, you cannot talk of meaningful development if women are left behind. Women are the pinnacle of development and humanitarian experts.
“Even in this crisis of COVID-19, women are on the forefront taking care of those that have been infected or affected by the virus. So we cannot talk about fighting COVID-18 if we are leaving the women behind,” Zaindi pointed out.