Balaka District Commemorates International Women’s Day with fresh calls to end GBV


The Director of Health and Social Services-DHSS for Balaka District Council Dr. Chimwemwe Thambo has called for a multi-stakeholder approach in combating Gender-Based Violence-GBV as well as promotion of Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights-SRHR among Adolescent Girls and Young Women-AGYW in the country.

Dr. Thambo made the remarks Thursday when presided over commemorations of the international women’s day which was jointly organised by Oxfam in Malawi, the Centre for Alternatives for Victimized Women and Children-CAVWC and Family Planning Association of Malawi-FPAM.

He noted that equipping the AGYW with the right information on GBV and sexual reproductive health is a catalyst in taming the influx of Sexually Transmitted Infections-STIs, teen pregnancies and unsafe abortions.

It is our shared responsibility to make sure that adolescent girls and young women are being protected, their rights are safeguarded while providing them with all the necessary support they deserve whenever necessary, said Thambo.

He hailed a consortium of Oxfam in Malawi, CAVWOC, FPAM and Point of Progress for their project Her future Her Choice which he described as a milestone in shaping generations of responsible communities.

Executive Director for CAVWOC Kelton Bolokonya says his organization, through her future her choice project has been bridging gaps, which have for decades been contributing factors to skyrocketing cases of teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.

He also disclosed that the project has instilled entrepreneurial spirit in the youths through the provision of different enterepreneurial skills such as bee keeping and start-up capital. The development has seen youths from over 56 youth clubs in the areas of Traditional Authorities Kalembo and Amidu venturing into small scale businesses, in return, responding to the effects of job scarcity among the youths in the country.

Esnath Taipi is one of the beneficiary of the project. The 26-year-old girl is a centre of attraction in her village. Esnath got married at a tender age, as she was not able to proceed with her education due to financial hiccups. However, after CAVWOC trained her on village savings and loans-VSL, she used the proceeds which she received from the VSL to enroll back at the nearest Chilanga Community Day Secondary School where she wrote her Malawi School Certificate of Education and successfully made it with flying colours.

Today, Esnath who has for a long time committed her time working as a voluntary Community Based Distribution Agent is now a full-time employee in the Government of Malawi, working as a Disease Control and Health Surveillance Assistant in her area. The story of the former school dropout is an inspiration to many girls in her village and surrounding areas.

Traditional Authority Amidu praises the project saying it has completely changed the narrative in her areas in as far as issues of Gender-Based Violence and Sexual Reproductive Health are concerned.

The project has significantly helped in raising awareness on cases of GBV such that people are able to report cases of GBV happening in their localities. We also thank the project for assisting in the reduction of teenage pregnancies as well as sexually transmitted infections, said Amidu.

In Malawi, young people grapples with a number of challenges in relation to SRHR including; limited access to SRH education and services that offer non-judgmental treatment for sexually transmitted infections, poor knowledge of SRH rights and freedom to make informed choices about entering into sexual relationships and marriages and limited access to contraceptives and information on usage, among many others.

Her future her choice program is being funded by Oxfam and Global Affairs Canada(GAC) to empower adolescent girls and young women (10-24 years old) to secure their sexual and reproductive health rights in target regions of Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Canada. In Malawi, her future her choice project is being implemented in Lilongwe and Balaka districts. In Lilongwe, the project is being implemented in Traditional Authority Malili and Traditioanl Authority Chimutu by point of Progress and Family Planning of Malawi while in Balaka, the project is being implemented in Traditional Authority Kalembo and Amidu by centre for victimized women and children and Family Planning Association of Malawi.

Oxfam collaborates with the Ministry of Health and other Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, parliamentary caucuses and committees, civil society organizations and the media in delivering the project interventions.