Non-Governmental Organisation-Gender Coordination Network (NGO-GCN) has asked women in Machinga to unite in the fight against gender-based violence (GBV).
The call follows a report the Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare presented in Parliament in October 2020 that the district registered 3 336 teenage pregnancies between March and September when schools closed as part of Covid-19 precautionary measures.
Speaking on Monday in Liwonde during a meeting with women group representatives and other stakeholders, the NGO-GCN board member Noel Msiska said violence against women and girls can be eliminated in the district when women speak with one voice.
“Unity is a formidable weapon to eliminate violence against women and girls such as early marriages and others,” he said.
On her part, Machinga district assistant gender officer Gertrude Mphande said GBV cases were on the rise in the district.
“We also need to abolish harmful cultural practices that fuel GBV in the district,” she said.
In her remarks, group village head Ngunga from Traditional Authority Nkoola said her subjects have now joined the fight against GBV.
“Four years ago, people rescued a 16-year-old girl from marriage. She went back to school and she is in her second year at [University of Malawi] Chancellor College,” she said.
With funding from UN Women, the NGO-GCN is implementing a one-year project Women’s Movement Amplify in Nsanje, Machinga, Dowa, Ntchisi, Nkhata Bay and Mzimbadistricts.
The project seeks to develop capacity and networking of women and girls’ groups in the fight against GBV.