The First Lady of the Republic of Malawi Madame Monica Chakwera, who is also Oxfam Ending Violence Against Women and Girls (EVAWG) National Ambassador has called Upon stakeholders to join hands and ensure that adequate resources are allocated to support comprehensive public education programs on gender-based violence and the delivery of essential services for people affected by gender-based violence, including paying attention to GBV survivors mental health issues – both women and men.
She has made the call in a special message as Malawi joins the rest of the world in commemorating 16 days, which started on Thursday 25 November and runs until Friday 10 December.
She said: “In Malawi; while we have made progress in putting in place laws and policies to address the problem, we have continued to register increased numbers of GBV cases including cases of defilement, early marriages and teenage pregnancies. At the peak of COVID 19 pandemic in 2020, the Ministry of Gender conducted a rapid assessment in some selected districts, that showed that about 13,000 child marriages and 45,000 teen pregnancies were registered between and March and September that year.
“And further, the Police indicate that from January to September this year, at least 13,000 GBV cases were recorded, and within that figure, 1,124 cases were of defilement. Both figures were higher than those recorded in the same months last year.
“We can see from this data that cases of rape, defilement and other forms of violence against women and girls continue to increase. This is a gross violation of girls’ and women’s human rights and as First Lady of our beloved nation, I wish to ask that we use all our efforts to stop these gross abuses,”
The Oxfam National EVAWG Ambassador has since called upon stakeholders to include the prevention of and response to GBV into Covid-19 recovery and response plans, and work together in mobilizing action to protect women, girls, boys and children from any form of gender-based violence.
This year’s commemorations mark the 30th Anniversary of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.