By Deogratias Mmana, New York, USA:
President Peter Mutharika on Wednesday provided free lessons to the United Nations (UN) HeForShe on how to deal with cases of gender-based violence.
Mutharika was among fellow HeForShe champions that attended UN HeForShe Impact Summit, which launched groundbreaking global solutions to gender equality report at the UN General Assembly.
“The fight against gender-based violence must always take an integrated approach. The first thing we need to do is to create a legal framework where women are protected by law and the laws must be enforced,” Mutharika told the summit.
He added: “But the legal frameworks also work best within a culture that is receptive to legal prescriptions.”
Mutharika told the summit that the gender-based violence fight cannot be won without involving local leaders who are custodians of culture.
“We, as a country, have learned that fighting gender-based violence should be a comprehensive social programme. Let us empower women and encourage them to say ‘nothing is to be done about me without my consent’,” Mutharika said.
He said his government passed the Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Act to end cases of early marriage so that girls earn education; increased the national budget allocation for child protection programmes by 14 percent and built community technical colleges so as to empower girls and women.
Under-Secretarry General and Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka, commended Malawi for passing the Act which, she said, has helped to annul over 20,000 early marriages.
“Malawi took a bold step in 2015 and passed Marriage Law at 18. With that law, activists, government, chiefs and several stakeholders are working in solidarity to protect girls from entering early marriages,” Ngcuka said.
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