Malawi Network of Aids Service Organisations (Manaso) has emphasised the need to eliminate social and cultural norms that infringe on the rights of women and girls in Mulanje .
Speaking in an interview on Monday during a project briefing with traditional leaders in the district, Manaso project manager Grace Massah said gender-based violence (GBV) and discrimination against people living with HIV and Aids will continue if there is no positive social and cultural transformation.
“According to a recent survey done by UN Women in the district, there are many social-cultural norms hindering the progress of women and young girls in communities.
“A lot of women are constantly being abused, both mentally and physically. Young girls are falling victims to forced marriages and early pregnancies because of harmful traditional beliefs,” she said.
Massah said this is the reason her organisation is implementing the project.
Mulanje district gender officer Mafunga Jamu commended Manaso for the project, saying it can contribute to a reduction of GBV cases.
Group village head Chisutu from Traditional Authority Nthiramanja said as traditional leaders, they are ready to work with government and Manaso to eradicate various beliefs that violate the rights of women and young girls. n