By Tione Andsen:
Network for Youth Development (NfYD) has challenged traditional and community leaders in Traditional Authority (TA) Malili in Lilongwe to guard against cultural traditions that are violating girls and women’s rights in their areas.
Project Officer, Sekanawo Mwatibu made the challenge Tuesday at Likuni Girls Primary School during the closing of a two day capacity building training on Women’s rights and Sexual Reproductive Health Right (SRHR) conducted for community influencers.
She observed some of the traditional norms and values were perpetrating Gender Based Violence (GBV) among women and both traditional and community leaders seem to be key players in the process.
“We are engaging them to enlighten them on the issues of women rights and SRHR so that they are equipped with right information which could help to minimize cases of reported GBV among communities,” Mwatibu said.
She said traditional and community leaders have been instrumental in ending child marriage in their area and their commitments to ending the cause are bearing fruits.
Mwatibu added that the leaders have remained strategic partners in influence change among communities in the implementation of various programmes in their areas.
The Project Officer explained that her organization was implementing Her future her Choice Project (HFHC) funded by Global Affairs Canada through Oxfam Malawi aims to increase the capacity of adolescent youth and young women to access SRHR services.
“The four year project targets 4,000 direct beneficiaries in TAs Malili and Chimutu. We are making progress on championing women’s rights as well as SRHR. We want to safeguard the rights of girls and young women by encouraging them to remain in school,” she stated.
Senior Group Village Headman (SGVH) Kuthindi said the training has helped us to recognize that women have the rightful role to play in the development of any area.
He said time has come for more women to be encouraged to participate fully in the development processes of their areas.
“We need to preserve women rights and promote rightful information regarding SRHR among our communities. Every human regardless of gender has the right to enjoy his or her right and no one has the right to infringe the right of any one,” Kuthindi stated.
Lady Initiator from TA Malili, Kampaso Khuze claimed that since 2017 her area has not reported any case of teenage pregnancy among girls.
She said her counselling service to young girls and provision of right SRHR have help to reduce cases of early marriages, rape and defilement among them.