Nsanje District Council has formulated by-laws to fight gender-based violence (GBV) and child marriages in the district.
The council formulated the by-laws on Monday during a training of district policy actors on the handbook on Child and Gender Related Law organised by the Non-Governmental Organisation-Gender Coordination Network (NGO-GCN).
Speaking after the training, NGO-GCN GBV committee chairperson Linda Jimu said the by-laws will guide policy actors to fight the vice.
“We already have laws in the Constitution and the Penal Code, but our policy actors need by-laws to help them fight GBV and child marriages,” he said.
Jimu also said some policy actors are not conversant with gender and child protection laws; hence, the training.
In his remarks, Nsanje District Social Welfare assistant officer Emmanuel Mbenuka said they were waiting for the full council to endorse the by-laws.
A police officer, Victor Nachuma, asked government to harmonise the age of a child in the Constitution and the Penal Code.
“For instance, the Constitution regards a child as a person below 18 while the Penal Code says anyone below 16 is a child,” he said.
An official from Nsanje Magistrate’s Court, Moses Mafupa, said there was need to publicise gender and child protection laws as many people do not know them.
The handbook on Child and Gender Related Laws from Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare indicates that 38 percent of children between five and 17 in the country are facing various forms of GBV.
NGO-GCN is running a Spotlight Initiative Project called Women Movements Amplify in Nsanje, Machinga, Ntchisi, Dowa, Nkhata Bay and Mzimbadistricts with funding from the European Union.