First Lady Gertrude Mutharika has urged people in the country to stop violence against women and children saying it retards development and is a sin against God.
The First Lady made these remarks on Thursday at Ndungunya Primary School in Traditional Authority (T/A) Jenala in Phalombe District where she attended an Oxfam event on the theme of Ending Violence against Women and Girls (EVAWG).
In her remarks, Mutharika indicated that the progress on reducing cases of violence against women and girls cannot be measured in numbers but there are a lot of awareness activities taking place in the country which have impact on the fight against violence.
“Ending violence against women and girls is a collective responsibility. Government, civil society organisations (CSOs) and religious institutions should hold hands to end violence.
“If there is violence in the family, there won’t be any development,” she said.
Interim Oxfam country director Lingalireni Mihowa said that while Malawi gets it right on policies of dealing with violence against women and girls, it is behaviour change which is lacking.
“We need to change the behaviour barriers such as some social norms that are deeply rooted in our culture. Therefore, we are now engaging traditional and religious leaders to address these issues to win the battle against violence,” said Mihowa.
Speaking earlier, legislator for Phalombe South Constituency, Mary Livunza Mpanga, decried the huge number of girls who drop out of school in the district.
She asked girls who have dropped out of school to go back to be educated and become self-reliant in future. Economic empowerment, said Livunza, is one way that would reduce violence against the girls.