Girls Empowerment Network [GENET] says increased participation of women and girls in budgeting processes has led to improved resource allocation policy implementation and resource allocation at district level.
The organization said the 3 year project it is implementing in partnership with Comic Relief and CAVWOC has made women and girls enjoy and exercise their rights and are free from Gender Based Violence [GBV] in Dowa district.
Speaking during a GBV stakeholder day- long Nkhanza Toto conference on Ending Violence against Women and Girls held at Mponela in Dowa, GENET’s Executive Director Faith Phiri, said the project has conducted training sessions on women and girls Movements in the areas of T/A Kayembe and Chakhaza, building capacity on gender related laws in the district.
Phiri said the project has helped to bring women and girls groups together for collective voice and action against social norms and harmful practices that perpetuate GBV through conferences, march and commemoration events.
She said the trained women and girls have formed a strong active and sustainable local girls and women’s Movement against GBV [Movement building] saying women and girls have gender legal protection and access to justice in relation to sexual GBV.
The Executive Director said GENET has registered some remarkable achievements such as increased knowledge and capacity on women’s right and Movement building and improved engagement meetings and petitions made by girls and women groups adopted in the past 6 months.
She said the project has registered short-term outcomes such as strengthened collaboration of referral systems and services, girls and women using local solution and have started using their power to challenge the gender norms and harmful traditional practices through mobilizing and meeting with their leaders and present their petition.
“…Girls and women given tools can work together to contribute in ending Gender Based Violence [GBV], and social transformation as part of implementation of key learning…,’’ said Phiri.
Phiri said girls and women need a lot of collective voices in Movement building for them to be powerful and strategically involve boys and men as supporters of women’s rights saying men and boys are not only perpetrators, they can also be part of the solution.
However, Phiri lamented that Covid-19 pandemic affected project implementation, limited engagement with men and boys as allies in the Movement and lack of safe homes for victims as evidenced with a lot of women and girls reporting violence saying this demand for safe homes is huge forcing the victims to stay with the perpetrators.
In his remarks, First Grade Magistrate Amran Phiri commended GENET for considering taking on board men and boys as champions in ending GBV saying this has helped many men to be reached out with the messages of ending violence against women and girls in the district.
Phiri called on partners championing GBV programs in the district to always incorporate men and boy’s participation in GBV in send a thief to catch a thief saying this principle has been considered to be the best weapon in fighting GBV cases in the district.
By Vincent Gunde