By Mphatso Nkuonera:
First Lady, Monica Chakwera has appealed to local and international development partners in the country to join hands in eliminating violence against girls because it hampers girl child education.
She made these remarks on Monday at Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe during the commemoration of International Day of the Girl Child, being held under the theme ‘advancing menstrual health equity in communities and schools across Malawi’.
“It is more disheartening that about 80 per cent of those girls taken from early marriages get back into marriage due to lack of support, this puts Malawi at number 12 on countries with highest figures of early marriages, it pains and it’s a shame,” Chakwera said.
The First Lady asked various stakeholders to rise up against sexual violence against girls so that the country prospers socio-economically.
Minister of Gender, Community Services, and Social Welfare, Patricia Kaliati said legislations are in place to pin down all men found guilty on violating girls’ rights through sexual abuse.
“The law will not leave any ill-minded men scot free, girls deserve all the respect to live with dignity. Expect tough times if you are caught and found guilty for any offence against girls,” she said.
United Nations Resident Coordinator, Maria Jose Torres Macho said UN expects Malawi to meet the Malawi Development Goals 2063 on ending violence against women.
“We recognize the efforts that other stakeholders are doing, Chief Kachindamoto in Dedza is a role model for putting girl child education at heart, let’s work to support these initiatives,” she said.
Human traffickers employ girls through cheating them that they will give them greener pastures, but instead they end up in the in bars or restaurants with very inhumane conditions.
Through a documentary that was beamed and was engineered by General Representative of Government of Flanders in Southern Africa, Dr. Geraldine Reymenants, indicated that girls’ rights are being violated daily in several ways.
Reports indicate that in Malawi three out of every seven girls gets married before the age of eighteen years something that has maternity complications and worsened poverty levels due to high fertility rate.
One of the survivors and Activist, Maureen Phiri, asked stakeholders to now invest into action so that something tangible should be shown.
“Time has come that our anger which we have by seeing young girls getting into early marriage should push us into doing tangible action.
“Let us have reliable safe houses in all the three regions of the country so that we can rehabilitate these girls back to normal and measure our efforts in that way, otherwise our words have been enough rest we act,” she said.