Communities from traditional authorities Mwakaboko, Kilupula and Kyungu in Karonga have commended the involvement of traditional leaders in the fight against gender-based violence (GBV) in the district.
Speaking on Monday during a meeting with traditional leaders organised by Evangelical Association of Malawi, Nthambo Primary School mother group chairperson Esther Mbotwa said most GBV-related cases emanate from harmful cultural practices whose custodians are the traditional leaders.
She cited cultural practices such as chithola minga, kusingilira (pre-arranged marriages) and vilingo, (marriage inheritance) saying they are fuelling GBV.
“The involvement of traditional leaders will enhance the fight against GBV,” said Mbotwa.
Mwandambo Village Development Committee (VDC) chairperson Joseph Mogha said poverty was another cause of GBV as some parents marry off their children early to get money.
“We are struggling to terminate marriages involving 19 girls because their parents collected money from the bridegrooms,” he said.
Acting group village head Mwangolera said efforts to end some harmful cultural practices are underway.
“We will formulate by-laws to protect girls from early marriages and end some forms of GBV. However, there are some cultural practices such as lobola which cannot be eradicated,” he said.
On his part, Karonga District Evangelical Association of Malawi project coordinator Dumisani Nungu said involving traditional leaders will address root causes fuelling GBV cases against girls and women in the district.
The association, with funding from Norwegian Church Aid, is implementing Timazge Nkhanza Project in the district.