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The Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare leda two days Education and Adolescent Integrated Spotlight District Stakeholders Orientation Workshop that took place in Liwondestarting August 4.

The aim of the orientation was to brief government officials of their respective roles under the Spotlight Initiative, particularly the safe schools and community development interventions.

Various Government stakeholders under Spotlight Initiative have been urged to review the strategies and interventions employed in dealing with Gender Based Violence (GBV) in order to ensure Gender Based Violence is completely eliminated in Malawi.

Speaking during the orientation workshop, the Deputy Director for Child Affairs in the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Mr. Justin Hamela said it is quite disappointing that despite all the resources pumped towards elimination of GBV by United Nations Partners have been giving to the districts, only little progress has been registered.

“Out of the countless resources that were pumped in the districts over the years, only 10% improvement was registered. Reports show that Gender Based Violence in Malawi has dropped from 50% to 40% indicating a 10% decrease,” said Hamela.

Hamela also blamed the stakeholder’s negligence in producing progress reports which he said was vital in instilling donors trust and also promotes accountability.

“For the donors to have trust in us, we need to develop a culture of producing reports because reports act as evidence when recording positive developments in our respective districts,” Hamela emphasized.

In her remarks, Chief Child Development Officer for the Ministry of Gender, Children Disability and Social Welfare Pauline Simwaka, said the poor progress was achieved because they missed the target.

“Previously we used to think that cultures were perpetuating Gender Based Violence but that is not the case, for example a recent survey on child marriages discovered that girls themselves are the perpetrators of the problem”

She further called for coordination among various stakeholders in order to improve service delivery to ensure the intended goals are achieved.

Janet Liabunya, the Child Protection Specialist for UNICEF on the other hand said there is a need to promote civic education of child related and gender laws to improve knowledge of Social Behavior Change Communication at all levels.

“Everyone is accountable in as far as Gender Based Violence issues are concerned and we need to take a collaborative and collective action as partners with all the stakeholders,” Liabunya said.

Spotlight initiative is a project that was initiated by EU and has a global commitment with UNICEF in partnership with Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare and other Ministries. The Ministry is championing pillar number 3 of the initiative on Prevention and Social Norms.

Currently Spotlight Initiative is in six districts of Malawi including Mzimba, Dowa, Ntchisi, Nkhata-bay, Nsanje and Machinga.