Lilongwe: 25th November 2016
The Minister for Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Jean Kalilani has called upon Malawians to eliminate gender based violence (GBV) in homes and communities as this where GBV frequently occurs. The Minister was speaking during the launch of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence Campaign at Golden Peacock Hotel in Lilongwe.
The campaign whose theme is “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the Community: Make Education Safe for All,” aims at eliminating violence in educational institutions to enable all Malawians to access education, and to get qualifications in order to promote the development agenda.
“I call upon you all to focus on elimination of GBV in the family and in our various communities where there is frequent occurrence of GBV. In such families and communities children are very unlikely to develop and grow into responsible adults; enroll and complete education at all the levels; and become productive citizens. We know from the Violence Against Children and Young Women study that children who grow up in a violent environment drop out of school and do not realize their aspirations in life. The consequences are too many child marriages, increased poverty, high illiteracy and gross under development of the families, communities and countries,” she said.
Kalilani further said that government is committed to create equality for both men and women by among other things creating policies and legal frameworks that promote the creation of safe spaces for girl’s education and training.
The minister further called upon girls to take advantage of the programmes and opportunities aimed at promoting their education and well-being. She advised them to be focused, ambitious and aspire for better things. She encouraged the girls to report abuse and violence against them or anyone they know.
In his remarks Ambassador and Head of the European Delegation to Malawi Marchel Gerrmann applauded the government for leading the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence Campaign. He added that Malawi has made significant efforts to eliminate violence against women and girls. He further said although efforts to eliminate gender based violence are underway, the practice is still widespread in the country.
Said he, “We all heard international media reports of the harmful practices that exist in Malawi. The data available now on violence suggest that this is a population in which 40% of women experience sexual violence, 30% experience physical violence and 44% have experienced psychosocial violence. Intimate partner violence is also very high at a staggering 49%.”
Speaking at the same function, UN Resident Representative Mia Seppo urged Malawians to eliminate harmful cultural practices and promote the rights of women and girls in order to eliminate violence. She said that women of child bearing age are more likely to experience sexual abuse, and added that gender based violence against women is usually perpetrated by those trusted by women.
The 16 Days of Activism Campaign has been launched on 25th November which is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and will end on 10th December which is the International Human Rights Day. During the campaign launch, the National Plan of Action to Combat Gender Based Violence and the 2016 African Human Development Report (AFDR).