Creative Centre for Community Mobilization (CRECCOM), a local organization in Malawi is implementing Spotlight Male Engagement Strategy in Machinga district with support from UN Women under the Spotlight Initiative. This strategy is promoting positive masculinities for male engagement on Ending Violence Against Women and Girls (EVAWG) and Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). Spotlight Initiative is a global European Union – United Nations (EU-UN) partnership aimed at eliminating violence against women and girls, and other harmful practices.
CRECCOM organized a training of trainers’ workshop in Balaka district to equip government staff from Machinga district and community level on how they will roll out interventions using the Barbershop Toolkit. During the workshop, CRECCOM’s Programs Officer for Spotlight Initiative, Dan Tewesa acknowledged that Gender-Based Violence (GBV) is rampant in Machinga district among women and girls, describing the vice as an evil which needs to be eliminated.
He said: “There is evidence that violence against women and girls takes place in households, communities, and schools. This remains one of the serious threats to education, health and safety of girls in the country that needs to be ended.”
The District Gender Development Officer for Machinga district, Rita Sukasuka, spoke on the need for the fight against violence among women and girls.
She said: “We do receive a lot of cases from women and girls at our office relating to gender-based violence and abuse. This is very worrisome and the project will help us to reduce such cases in the district,” said Sukasuka.
Concurring with Sukasuka, Child Protection Officer for Paramount Chief Kawinga Jangiya Chimenya, said that many young girls tend to be victims of gender-based violence due to some harmful cultural practices happening in Paramount Chief Kawinga
“Most girls aged between 8 to 14 years are abused because we still have people who believe that any girl that has undergone initiation is old enough to sexually handle a man. Even the girls themselves believe this. As a result, we have many cases of early pregnancies as well as child marriages in the area. With the coming in of this project and the approaches we have learnt during this workshop, we are confident to address such issues.,” said Chimenya.
CRECCOM is working with gender, social welfare, police, chiefs, religious leaders, boys, community victim support unit, police forums, and other community structures to achieve the objectives of the project in Paramount Chief Kawinga, Machinga district