Cawvoc takes empowerment debate to Balaka, Phalombe


Centre for Alternatives for Victimised Women and Children (Cavwoc) on Saturday and Sunday held community debates on issues that hinder women from attaining leadership positions in the country.

The debates which were part of this year’s International Women’s Day activities saw women and men of Traditional Authorities (T/As) Amidu in Balaka and Jenala in Phalombe discussing the challenges affecting women empowerment and the possible solutions.

During the discussions, women mentioned husbands’ marital jealousy, fellow women backbiting and religious and cultural beliefs that encourage submissiveness as some of the challenges rocking the women empowerment campaigns.


But men said most women are just leadership shy, become unruly and unfaithful to their husbands and fail to attain proper education for leadership.

Cavwoc Programmes Manager Maxwell Kaliati said the centre will be implementing an Oxfam-funded women empowerment programme in some districts including Balaka and Phalombe.

Kaliati said from this year to 2020, Cavwoc and Oxfam will, through intensive civic education, deal with various cultural and religious misconceptions that have prevented women from rising to leadership positions at both community and national levels.


“For example, women were saying their religion does not allow them to be leaders in the society yet religion restricts such conditions within the mosques and churches and not the community at large. But looking at the trend in which some women have been given positions such as being traditional leaders, there is likelihood that with the campaign the misconceptions will be dealt with and women will be empowered,” Kaliati said.

He said, among others, Cavwoc will form discussion groups where community members will be discussing ways of dealing with various misconceptions in women empowerment drive and with proper training and role model mentorship the programme is set to bear fruits by 2019.

The traditional leaders in the areas where the discussions took place including T/A Amidu of Balaka promised to fully support the programme to ensure that women are empowered.

During the functions, local netball and football teams played games as recorded messages on Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Act and women empowerment kept playing.

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