Stakeholders in the fight against abuse of women and girls want the country to mainstream gender in response to the possible second wave of Covid-19.
Tithetse Nkhanza team leader Grace Malera, whose initiative promotes prevention and response to violence against women and girls, said the country did not prepare well in advance on the protracted effects of Covid-19.
She said: “We all know Covid-19 has affected all sectors but what is least talked about is the impact of VAWG [violence against women and girls] and child marriages, teen pregnancies have escalated.
“Moving forward with all indications of a second wave of Covid-19, the meeting will see what kind of programming and adaptation do we need to undertake and lessons learnt from all VAWG programming be it on the part of the government or NGOs.”
Malera was speaking in Lilongwe at the Community of Practice on Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Meeting which drew together representatives from government, NGOs, the academia and the media.
She said Malawi should rethink its approach to respond favourably to the needs with a rapidly revolving context.
In her keynote address, High Court judge Fiona Mwale said new and practical strategies need to be devised and be applicable for as long as the global pandemic exists.
S h e s a i d : “As many commentators have observed, the Covid-19 pandemic may not go away any time soon, and societies are being asked to ‘learn to live with the pandemic’. This entails that we must brace ourselves to continue implementing the various VAWG programmes in this rapidly ever-changing environment.”
The judge called for evidence based adaptations in order to respond better to the two contagions Malawi is dealing with.
Recently, there has been a rise in the number of gender-based violence cases especially rape and defilement.
The Community of Practice sought to consolidate evidence and programme implementation on VAWG in the face of Covid-19 and make recommendations accordingly