Community leaders in Senior Chief Mbenje in Nsanje have said male champions are playing a critical role in the fight against gender-based violence (GBV) in the district.
Speaking on Wednesday during a meeting organised by Foundation for Civic Education and Social Empowerment, area development committee chairperson Edward Banda said the male champions have intensified awareness campaigns on GBV in the area.
“There is mindset change among community members regarding GBV. Now more girls and women are able to report on GBV issues,” he said.
Banda also said community members have abolished some harmful cultural practices such as sexual cleansing of widows (kulowa kufa).
A male champion James Sande from group village head Nguluwe said they engage their fellow men with GBV messages.
The foundation’s programme officer Dalitso Kachiwala said men and boys have joined the fight against GBV in the area.
“Men in the area are now aware of the rights of women,” she said.
A community member Rose Malunga said girls and women are now able to report rape and defilement cases to authorities in the district.
“Previously, GBV victims suffered in silence, but now more cases are being reported,” she said.
The organisation has terminated 42 child marriages in the district and some of the girls have gone back to school.
The organisation is implementing a GBV project with funding from Spotlight Initiative.