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Written By Makhumbo Munthali

TA Mwilang’ombe has encouraged women groups to rise up and fearlessly report any case of gender based violence to the existing relevant referrals in his area if the fight against gender based violence is to bear the desirable results.

TA Mwilang’ombe said this at a training organised by Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) in partnership Comitato Internazionale per lo Sviluppo dei Popoli (CISP) in Karonga district. This workshop was aimed at training the established mother groups and STAR Circle facilitators in documentation of gender based violence and best practices to reducing harmful social cultural practices that renders women and girls vulnerable.

“It is very clear that most women are afraid to report cases of gender based violence to Police and other existing channels just because of a number of factors. However, in spite of whatever reasons, you as mother groups and STAR cycle facilitators are expected to play a leading role in this by being bold enough in exposing and reporting cases of gender based violence in my area”.

The chief further appealed to the trained mother groups and STAR cycle facilitators to work hand in hand with traditional leaders, community policing and victim support unit of police in the fight against Gender Based Violence.

“As traditional leaders we are always willing and cooperative to render our necessary support to all stakeholders involved in this be it mother groups, men groups or community action groups towards eradication of Gender based violence and harmful social cultural practices. I therefore encourage you to always ensure that Village Headman is aware of such reported cases.”

Apart from drilled in documentation of success stories and best practices aimed at reducing gender based violence and harmful social cultural practices, the participants to this meeting largely women were also oriented on the GBV- related services provided by Police through the Victim Support Unit and the health centres in the area

CHRR in partnership with CISP is assisting the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Welfare in implementing a Gender Equality and Women Empowerment Project in TA Wasambo and TA Mwilang’ombe in Karonga district with technical and financial support of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and European Union (EU). According to CHRR Human Rights and Gender Officer Makhumbo Munthali, the aim of the project is to reducing gender inequalities between women, men, girls and boys in accessing productive resources and development opportunities through social and economic empowerment of women in order to contribute positively to the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS) and accelerate attainment of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).