Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) councilor for Chilomoni Ward Philip Kameta has said adolescent girls from urban slums face worse proportions of violence that present devastating impact on their health and education.
Speaking on Friday at a commemoration of 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence (GBV) led by girls from M’bwelela area, the councilor sent an SOS to stakeholders including Non Governmental Organisation (NGOs) to explore the untouched challenges of urban slums.
Said Kameta: “Urban slums are just other breeding spaces for poverty in our country because there are majority of young people especially girls that are exposed to all sorts of violence. An example is M’bwelela in my ward which is called Sodom and Gomorrah because of its wickedness which is exposing children to such high risks as sexual transmitted infections, forced and child marriages and unplanned teen pregnancies.”
He said M’bwelela area is situated at the edge of Namiwawa low density area, presenting another sad tale of the gap between the rich and poor. This gives a fair ground even for guards, garden boys and house servants to violate the rights of girls. Hence the need for information and services on SRH in order to help vulnerable girls from this impoverished area to make informed decisions.
Internationally, this year the 16 Days Campaign is focusing on the relationship between militarism and the right to education in situations of violent conflict. However, Our Dream Girls Movement from Blantyre narrowed down the theme to ‘relationship between girls’ education and urban slums’.
Director of Our Dream Girls Movement Chikondi Mituka said girls from urban slums such M’bwelela in Blantyre were exposed to different kinds of violence that limit their health and education opportunities.
Said Mituka: “We wanted to create awareness among communities of M’bwelela and Chilomoni areas about the negative effects of urban poverty and immorality that are cutting short education and health prospects of their children especially girls.”
The event was graced by Let Girls Lead Malawi-chapter’s National Coordinator Joyce Mkandawire, the ruling DPP’s councilor for Chilomoni Ward, community leaders and influential girl leaders such as Tisunge Kamphale. It had also motivational speakers nurse Jenloza Maoza from Mlambe Hospital and Trinitas Kunashe, a project coordinator for Global Early Adolescent Study at College of Medicine.
Our Dream Girls Movement was inspired by Let Girls Lead-a global movement of champions who empower girls to attend school, stay healthy, escape poverty, and overcome violence.