Senior Chief Makanjira of Mangochi and faith leaders say they will do whatever it takes to deal with traditional and cultural practices that ignite gender based violence which mostly affect adolescent and young women.
Senior Chief Makanjira made the pledge at his headquarters when Mangochi District Gender Office held interface meeting with local leaders to discuss drivers of GBV and ways of dealing with all factors that fuel the malpractice.
Issues discussed during the interface meeting included prolonged initiation camping that mainly affect boys’ education, forced and arranged marriages that compromise girls’ education.
Young men’s migration to foreign countries to seek employment leaving their wives behind with little or no support was also another driver of GBV discussed during the interface meeting.
Makanjira acknowledged that harmful traditional and harmful cultural practices and other drivers of GBV were common in his area such that the trend negatively compromises child education and welfare of young mothers.
“As Senior Chief l will work with other traditional leaders to deal with this,” he added.
Sheikh Alli Makalani said faith leaders have a role to play to deal with factors that fuel GBV in the area, adding that delay in releasing children from initiation camps compromises child right to education.
He therefore called on fellow faith leaders to take an active role in denouncing all factors that affect child education, well-being of adolescent girls and young women.
District Gender Officer at Mangochi District Council, Metro Ching’ani, said her office decided to engage the traditional and faith leaders, the youth and elderly women into a discussion on Sexual and Reproductive Health rRghts (SRHR) and other social and cultural ills that fuel GBV.
Ching’ani added that the interface meeting provided a good forum that exposed ills that are done in the name of social, culture and tradition values.
The gender officer observed that some local leaders tolerate drivers of GBV to happen in their areas despite negative impact associated with the harmful social and cultural practices.
She, however, said she was impressed with the commitment by traditional and faith leaders at Makanjira.
“I’m grateful to the UNFPA and Embassy of lceland for providing support towards elimination of GBV in Mangochi,” added Ching’ani.