The country’s First Lady, Professor Gertrude Mutharika on Thursday condemned the acts of violence and abuses that women, girls and children in the country go through.
The First Lady was speaking during one of the events of a campaign branded ‘Ending Violence Against Women and Girls (EVAWG)’ held at Ndungunya Primary School in Phalombe District.
Professor Mutharika said it was sad that most girls and women are abused by the very people who are supposed to protect such as their husbands and stepfathers, a development she described as inhuman.
Mutharika said in 2017, she accepted to become the EVAWG campaign’s Ambassador because she realized how gender based violence hinders national development by creating a social distance between males and females.
“When women and girls are subjected to gender based violence of various forms, they are affected both physically and emotionally, as such, they are unlikely to take part in development activities.
“This reduces the number of Malawians that could take part in development,” Mutharika said.
The First Lady then noted that both secondary and primary school girls in the district are dropping out of school due to early pregnancies, saying that was sad.
Malawi Government, through the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social welfare in conjunction with Oxfam on November 28, 2017 launched the campaign which is designed to reduce levels of violence against women, girls and children that is evidently on the rise in the country.
Among other things, the campaign is pushing for the revision of some gender sensitive laws in Malawi to ensure that girls and women are fully protected from gender based violence.
Commenting on the EVAWG campaign, Interim Country Director for Oxfam in Malawi, Lingalireni Mihowa praised the successes that the campaign has registered since its inception.
Mihowa explained that statistics available in her organization’s data base indicates that at least one million Malawians have been reached with EVAWG messages which are expected to trigger mindset change on issues of gender based violence.
“Since last year, our team has grown as evidenced by the joining in of other stakeholders such as the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi, Christian Aid and World Vision Malawi that have all embraced the EVAWG concept in their organizations,” said Mihowa.
She added that education institutions such as Chancellor College and College of Medicine have so far asked to join in the initiative and currently, the formalization processes are underway to have the institutions incorporated in the four year- long initiative.
Traditional Authority Jenala in whose district the campaign event took place, said while women and children are the ones on the spotlight on issues of gender based violence, men in the district are also being subjected to serious abuses that need interventions.
“Some women beat their husbands, but since the Malawian tradition makes us believe that men do not cry they end up not reporting the abuses that they are going through.
“This is bad and if it is a way of balancing the equation, it is not a good one,” said Jenala.-MANA