Gender-Based Violence continues to be Global epidemic with consequences for women, families and entire communities. Malawi continues to register these cases year to year. The risk of violence starts early for many women and girls.
Each year, millions of girls around the world are getting married before they turn 18. Child marriage results in greater risk of domestic violence and sexual abuse, as well as a number of health issues and lower educational attainment.
Parent and Child Health Initiative [PACHI] with support from UNICEF is reaching out to adolescents with messages of Gender Based Violence through Ifenso Tingathe Clubs in the districts of Mzimba, Machinga, Dowa, Nsanje, Nkhatabay and Ntchisi.
PACHI is conducting series of awareness campaigns in the implementing districts; in Mzimba during the awareness campaigns adolescents were empowered to discuss issues that matter to them and also demand services from duty bearers.
Speaking at Elangeni Primary School awareness campaign, The Mzimba District Social Welfare Officer Edward Chisanga emphasized on the need to report any form of Gender Based Violence. “Adolescents should disclose any Gender Based Violence they encounter and the culprits will face the law” Edward said.
Emma Banda (not her real name) a survivor from Elangeni had this to say “I got married at the age of 14 to a man aged 23. Life was not easy to manage a family at my age. When Elangeni Ifenso platform heard about this, they informed mothergroup members who made an initiative and they came in for a rescue. My parents were also engaged and they supported the initiative. My marriage was terminated. I spent three weeks in marriage, now am back to school”
PACHI is also supporting district councils to air radio jingles and programmes on community radio stations on prevention and reporting of Gender Based Violence. Ifenso Tingathe club is a Spotlight Initiative component where adolescents meet to share their experiences on problems happening in their respective communities in their day to day life. Furthermore, adolescents are equipped with social accountability and advocacy skills for them to be able to hold duty bearers accountable on issues affecting adolescent’s wellbeing in the community