As one way of reducing sexual abuse in Malawi, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in partnership with Ujamaa, a Kenyan charity, has started a program that teaches schoolgirls self-defense tactics.
According to reports, the lessons include physical skills such as punches and jabs, running for safety as well practical skills that would distract their assailants.
Over 25,000 schoolgirls have been trained in the program over the past few years. The schoolgirls learn the self-defense lessons for two hours every week over a period of six-weeks.
Currently, the lessons are being conducted in seven districts across the country.
Ujamaa training programs started in Kenya where the charity says rape incidents dropped by half in schools where girls underwent the training.
Malawi is one of the countries in southern Africa that have registered high number of sexual assault cases.
With the self-defense training, Ujamaa trainers hope Malawi will reduce sexual assault incidents
“In the past, girls were not reporting it but now they are indeed empowered to report abuses. Some are reporting the incidents to us teachers and others to their parents for action,” said a teacher involved in the training program.
The training also targets boys, teaching them how to intervene if they witness cases of assault.