A Safe Space Mentorship programme implemented by Amref Health Africa in Machinga has revealed that more girls and young women are being abused in homes than in the streets or in schools.
Implemented in traditional authorities Kawinga, Chamba, Sitola, Ngokwe and Nyambi, through Spotlight Initiative by the UN partners, the mentorship programme revealed that girls and young women go through while in their homes than anywhere else.
Speaking on Saturday when issuing certificates to 375 girls and young women after completing a six months training on safe space mentorship as mentors and mentees in Paramount Chief Kawinga, Amref Health Africa programme manager, Charles Suya said sexual gender-based violence (SGBV), forced marriages, defilement and rape are some of the abuses the women face.
He said: “Our organisation is implementing a Spotlight Initiative to address SGBV through the elimination of cultural norms which is at pillar number three out of five pillars. Mentorship is one of the strategies we are using to empower adolescent girls and young women (10-24) years.
Suya said the initiative seeks the girls and young women to make decisions, choices and live a life free of SGBV.
“However, by engaging women into mentorship crusades, we have established that they are not safe in their homes than in schools or streets.
“The mentees confessed to their mentors that most step fathers touch their breasts, buttocks and force them to sleep with them in full view of their wives,” he said.
Suya added that the girls also lamented that mostly, their mothers are the architect of their problems as they keep mum watching evil things happening or sometimes gag the girl’s mouths from revealing.
Suya, however, hailed the initiative, saying it has given them a clue which is a plus to them as they will now know how to address the challenges.
Group Village Head (GVH) Nchisa hailed Amref Health Africa for the mentorship programme, saying it has empowered girls and young women to stand against SGBV in the area.
“Through the initiative, I am happy that I am now an in-charge of empowered girls,” he said.
One of the mentors, Shakira Mpinganjira pledged to remain vigilant against SGBV and to continue empowering her fellow friends to challenge people who perpetrate the evil act.
“Thanks to the mentorship programme. We are no longer to keep silent on abuses.
“We will nurture the self-esteem, courage and reporting skills the mentorship has capacitated us. We pledge to stay on guard against any act of SGBV by exposing the perpetrators,” she stated.