As gender-based violence (GBV) cases are rising, religious and traditional leaders are taking unconventional ways to deal with it.
It is inspiring to witness a Christian church inviting a Muslim leader as a guest speaker to end GBV in the family and the community.
Likewise, initiation counsellors, called anamkungwi, are opening up about their traditional rite of passage and modifying the ritual accordingly to promote gender equality.
Among others, the counsellors are teaching girls what they need to know as girls, not future wives.
Similarly, exemplary men are getting involved as change agents and role models for boys.
Ongoing discussions with rural women groups in some districts unveil numerous factors triggering the rise of GBV.
Some communities still believe that poverty, lack of love and understanding and alcohol abuse are among the causes of violence.
However, those that have interacted with governmental and non-governmental organisations understand how the predominant positions and power men have in society are the major factors that allow some men to treat women as lesser beings.
Surprisingly, some women occupying leadership positions are promoting patriarchy in many ways because they do not want fellow women, mostly younger ones, to replace them.
They feel comfortable to keep being revered as the only women that succeeded to break the glass ceiling.
The patriarchal tendencies displayed by women included castigating and beating up of fellow women perceived to be in the wrong.
It has been noted that women easily gang up to beat a woman having an affair with a married man to stop her from repeating the mistake.
Unfortunately, they do not realise that it works to the advantage of men. Teaching a fellow woman a lesson by beating her is obviously a waste of energy best utilised confronting the man.
A woman failing to cast a decisive vote for the uplifting of a fellow woman is a shame to the fight against patriarchy!
Fighting a fellow woman legitimises patriarchy and constitutes a lost opportunity for women.
In effect, all actions that demean fellow women, coupled with the age-old dominance of men, allow some men to take advantage of women and make them fight against each other.
In the long run, patriarchal tendency perpetrated by women only sustains the undesirable cycle of looking down upon women.
However, there is a twist in working with men as allies to balance the use of power.
Men, who have accepted the current state of affairs as not being fair to women find every opportunity to reprimand and encourage fellow men to use their power wisely.
Some men even challenge women to move away from their comfortable assumed positions, especially younger women.
Presently, these discussions are concentrated in a few rural communities closer to main roads.
They increasingly receive support from the outside and have vocal elected leadership that is attracting such assistance.
Sadly, conversations against gender disparities are not shared with hard-to-reach communities that remain underserved.
Their only hope to access such discussions lies in community radio stations they listen to with undivided attention.
Community radios give them access to meaningful discussions and hope that one day, maybe their voices will be heard.
The hard-to-reach populations long for an opportunity when they will awaken the privileged women in leadership positions that it is a fight against patriarchy, not fellow women.