Care Malawi has drilled 150 community leaders from traditional authorities Chikumbu, Mabuka, Juma and Tombondia in Mulanje in fighting gender-based violence (GBV) and child abuse.
The training followed reports of rising cases of GBV and child abuse in the district.
Speaking on Monday on the sidelines of the three-day training that took place at Mulanje Mission Hospital, Care Malawi Covid-19 Response project manager Chimwemwe Gremu said they wanted to empower community leaders with skills to handle GBV and child abuse cases.
“We also urge the participants to share the skills with their fellow leaders in their areas,” he said.
Mulanje Police Station officer-in-charge Edwin Magalasi thanked Care Malawi for the training.
He said: “Police alone cannot resolve all GBV and child abuse issues in the district.
“As police, we are trying our best to investigate the cases and bring perpetrators to justice.”
Magalasi also blamed some harmful cultural practices, saying they are fuelling GBV and child abuse in the district.
Chikumbu Area Development Committee vice-chairperson Ellen Chongwa said children were being sexually abused and accused of witchcraft in her area.
She said: “We were failing to effectively engage people on such abuses because we had no knowledge.
“But now we will be able to civic-educate people on the country’s laws about witchcraft, GBV and child protection.”
Mulanje District Child Protection Committee reports that the district registered about 1000 teen pregnancies and child marriages and about 150 GBV cases in the last half of 2020.
The training was funded by the European Union.