Amref Health Africa has drilled 1 157 sexual gender-based violence (SGBV) mentors in traditional authorities (T/As) Kawinga, Chamba, Sitola, Ngokwe and Nyambi in Machinga to enhance the fight against the vice.
The training follows the organisation’s assessment that more girls are facing SGBV in their homes than schools in the district.
In an interview, Amref Health Africa programme manager Charles Suya cited forced marriages, defilement and rape as common SGBV cases girls and young women are facing in the district.
He said: “The girls and young women [mentees] have confessed to their mentors that most step fathers touch their breasts, buttocks and sleep with them.
“So, the training will equip mentors with knowledge on how to fight the vice.”
Suya said through the mentorship programme, mentors will adopt a girl each called a ‘mentee’ to motivate them to be self-assertive.
One of the mentors, Shakira Mpinganjira, from T/A Kawinga, pledged to intensify the fight against SGBV.
In his remarks, group village head Nchisa commended Amref Health Africa for the mentorship programme, saying it will empowere girls and young women to stand against SGBV in the area.
“I will also join the fight against SGBV in my area and ask my fellow traditional leaders to formulate by-laws to protect girls,” he said.
Amref is running a Safe Space Mentorship Programme under the Spotlight Initiative funded by the United Nations and European Union.