By Patrick Ndawala and Rudo Nditani – Mana
Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Aisha Adams Thursday expressed her satisfaction in the way Machinga District Council through Spotlight Initiative was doing to deal with violence against girls and women.
She expressed her gratitude at Nayumbu Primary School ground in the area of Paramount Chief Kawinga in Machinga during a high level monitoring visit aimed at appreciating efforts by 24 Spotlight partner organisations on eliminating Gender Based Violence (GBV) in the district.
“What we have seen is very impressive effort and this is what we call action as time for providing lip services is gone and now this is time for action.
We have seen how girls have been skilled on how they can defend themselves against violence and on top of this women have been economically empowered as they are able to access start-up capital for small scale businesses,” Adams said while appreciating chiefs support in girls education and their active role in fighting against cultural practices that ignite violence.
She asked developmental partners to support government in the disseminating gender related laws to ensure communities understand the laws.
District Commissioner (DC) for Machinga, Rosemary Nawasha said the district has ended 890 child marriages in nine Traditional Authorities (TAs) where the initiatives to end the child marriages and other anti GBV are being implemented.
“Over 98 girls are back to school, 1,750 young women and 513 sexual related violence survivors who include 43 women with disabilities are now members of Village Savings and Loans.
We have 495 women who have accessed loans within CVSU and 150 have accessed grants of K150, 000 each as part of revolving seed capital,” Nawasha added.
United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA ) Representative to Malawi, Young Hung said was impressed with the role boys, men and religious leaders are playing in supporting the fight against GBV.
“I was very happy with the engagement of religious and traditional leaders,” she said, adding that all the UN agencies that are supporting Spotlight Initiative are ready to work with the Ministry of Gender to bring the gender laws to the community.
“For people to respect the law and bring about effective enforcement of laws,” Hung said there was need for people in remote areas to understand them.
Paramount Chief Kawinga who is a male champion in the fight against violence said his area was registering low number of GBV since the introduction of Spotlight Initiative unlike in the past as people now report violence act to authorities.
He added that chiefs are encouraging their subjects to do away with harmful cultural practices that influence GBV.
The Paramount Chief asked Inspector General of Police, George Kainja who was in attendance to upgrade Ntaja Police post to a fully-fledged Police Station to effectively deal with gender related crimes.