By Shadreck Maoni
Faith groups under the Side by Side movement have vowed to work hand in hand with government in the fight against Gender Based Violence (GBV) in the country.
The Side by side movement is a corroboration of three religious groups namely The Episcopal Conference of Malawi, Malawi Council of Churches and the Evangelical Association of Malawi.
Speaking at a round table meeting on Thursday in Lilongwe, Principal Secretary in the ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social welfare Roselyn Makhumula said the ministry recognizes the fact that in the past faith groups have not been fully engaged in issues to deal away with GBV in the country but the Side by Side movement is a corroboration that will put out a strong stance by faith groups.
Makhumula said government through her ministry will support the movement across the country in a bid to fight GBV.
“It is very important that faith leaders and faith groups have come forward to say they want to be part of the fight against GBV. They are the ones that instill values that form our behaviors. We have been talking of the ills of GBV but we haven’t achieved our goals on the same since other sectors where not yet fully involved in the fight but the coming in of the Side by side movement we feel we are going a mile further”, said Makhumula.
On behalf of the three faith groups under the movement, Malawi Council of Churches Board Chairperson Rt. Rev. Dr. Fanuel Emmanuel Magangani said they have come together in the fight against GBV with the thought that united we stand and divided we fall.
Rev. Dr. Magangani said GBV is one thing that is affecting alot of people therefore it is important to come together and have a common voice to fight the vice.
“GBV is a common problem affecting our people therefore as faith leaders and faith organizations we feel we can do something about it. We are in support of the laws that govern this country and that protect women and girls. We know its not against the doctrine therefore we add the gospel on top the laws in order to bring in good values and fight GBV”, Rev. Dr. Magangani said.
The round table meeting comes as the world is moving towards the 16 days of activism which is an annual international campaign that kicks off on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day.
The global theme for this year’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is “Orange the world: End violence against women now!”