Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Jean Kalilani says the country continues to register increased cases of gender-based violence (GBV) despite efforts to end the vice.
Kalilani was speaking in Mzimba on Saturday during the launch of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign against GBV which runs from November 25 to December 10.
She said: “Statistics show that cases of abuse continue to rise. This is despite several efforts to address the problem. For example, we are trying to empower women with loans through village savings banks, but the initiative ends up leading to more abuse because men grab the money from women.”
Kalilani said the problem is slowing down the country’s development.
“As a ministry, we want to look at the causes of gender-based violence and expose them so that people know what causes abuse.
“Currently, we are doing a number of programmes to address the vice, and the campaign is one of them to bring information to the public that gender-based violence is bad,” she said.
In Malawi, according to the Malawi Demographic and Health Survey 2015/16, one third of women have ever experienced physical violence since the age of 15, one in five women have ever experienced sexual violence and more than four in 10 married women have experienced spousal violence, whether physical or sexual or emotional.
United Nations (UN) Women Malawi representative Clara Anyangwe said the country has favourable gender-related legislation and that it is now up to stakeholders to ensure that those laws and policies are implemented.
“In Malawi, we have an enabling environment to ensure that gender equality is advanced. It is not like that in many countries,” she said.
The 16 Days of Activism Campaign against GBV was set aside by the UN for member States to consolidate and intensify efforts and initiatives for prevention and eradication of GBV annually.
The 2017 global theme is Leave No One Behind: End Violence Against Women and Girls. In Malawi, the theme has been localised to Leave No One Behind: End Gender Based Violence. n