The Ministry of Gender, Community and Social Welfare has called for the need to link child protection with other structures so that women and girls are given full protection in the society.
The Ministry said District Executive Committee and Full Council are key to governance issues for the district to deliver its successes lamenting that less attention is given to gender issues prioritizing on other projects such as water, road construction and others,at a District Council.
Speaking during Nkhanza Toto conference on Ending Violence against Women and girls held at Mponela in Dowa, the Ministry’s Gender Development Officer in the Department of Child Affairs, Kondwani Mhone, noted with great concern that there is a gap between DEC and Full Council and Gender Technical Working Group [GTWG] in most of the districts in Malawi saying this is giving a clear picture that gender issues are not well coordinated.
Mhone said the district has Child Protection Committees, Social Mobilization Committee, Chiefs Forum, Pastors Fraternal, Community Policing Forums and Gender Technical Working Group, all are working hand in hand to ensure that women and girls are protected from sexual abuse, Gender Based Violence, and child marriage withdrawals, saying if there was good coordination on the ground, more perpetrators would have been reported by now.
He said the community has Mother Groups, Community Victim Support Units [CVSU], Care Groups, Crime Prevention Panels, Learners Council and Safe Space Circles and all of these provide room for guidance and counseling and reports to the relevant authorities for action against the perpetrators of Gender Based Violence [GBV].
The officer advised all community based gender structures of the district not to hold discussion of gender issues without gender eyes saying resource mobilization need to be advocated for so that all the voices are heard and respected.
He said District Improvement Plan [DIP] need to have gender components as entry point at Councils expressing fears that if voices are missed in the two structures, DEC and full council, all projects that are gender sensitive will also be missed and this will pose a great challenge in resource mobilizations.
Mhone said resources are the ones that keep any intervention growing saying resource mobilization starts with Dec and full council meetings that whenever there is a meeting on Gender Technical Working Group, it has to get in touch with Dec and full council for effective coordination.
“…When a project comes, the Council’s Director of Planning and Development [DPD] knows, Gender Technical Working Group must also know, this has to be passed to the community structures, in this way, there’s effective communication and coordination from top- down hence accountability and transparency is enhanced…,’’ he said.
He said coordination is a challenge to each and every organization at a district or national level saying not only one department or organization can address gender issues at district level hence a great need for accelerated efforts among gender players through meetings to make Ending Violence against Women and Girls [EVAWG] a dream come true in the district.
By Vincent Gunde