Dowa district on Thursday hosted the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Madalitso Kazombo MP, who led a delegation of European Union [EU] and United Nations [UN] Agency representatives appreciating Spotlight Initiatives programs in the areas of three Traditional Authorities Mkukula, Msakambewa and Chiwere in the district.
Dowa has been the second district after Mzimba to be visited by a UN and EU high-level delegation for the champions of change Spotlight Initiatives has contributed towards accelerated efforts of Ending Violence against Women and Girls [EVAWG].
Over 28 Million Dollars was pumped in to the Government of Malawi to support accelerated efforts of fighting Gender Based Violence [GBV] in six districts of the country including Dowa and monitoring the impact of stakeholders and NGOs working in gender related issues mainly in Gender Based Violence.
Speaking after appreciating various displays performed by women, girls and boys at Dzaleka Refugee Camp, T/A Msakambewa and Chiwere headquarters in the district, First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Madalitso Kazombo MP said Spotlight Initiatives have empowered women, girls and boys to stand up against sexual abuse and Gender Based Violence [GBV] in the district.
Kazombo said Spotlight Initiatives programs has achieved its objective of empowering girls and women in line with the Tonse Alliance Government philosophy that all take active participation in Gender Based Violence and Ending Violence against Women and Girls [EVAWG] regardless of gender or economic status.
He said Spotlight Initiatives programs have made girls forced into early marriages to go back to school, women dumped or divorced by men and are hopeless and those women whose land was grabbed by the community back to life, some are going to school, doing businesses, adult literacy saying this is what Government wants that all are taking part in the development of their areas.
The First Deputy Speaker called for the need to support the communities at the grass root level for them to be aware of the importance of empowering women and girls observing that people can speak at high-level meetings and if the concept is not reaching the grass root, nothing to write about encouraging girls and women to go to school and developments.
“…Government has to do more in educating girls by building more schools, roads and bringing the police very close to the communities, police is far away from the communities citing Dowa boma and Chibanzi , if one has a Gender Based Violence [GBV] case there is a challenge to report…,’’ said Kazombo.
On a number of challenges faced by the Dzaleka camp communities, Kazombo assured the communities there, that he will take their concerns and grievances to the attention of President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera advising the people surrounding the camp to treat refugees and asylum seekers as fellow human beings, urging all to love one another in the same way the Holy Bible teaches them.
UNICEF Country Representative, Rudolf Schwenk, congratulated the Dowa communities for championing change through Spotlight Initiatives programs, the UN and EU delegation have been impressed by the spirit of working together saying this has made Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls [EVAWG] a success in Dowa district.
In her remarks, Secretary for Local Government and Rural Development, Dr. Esme Kainja thanked Spotlight Initiatives for organizing a high-level meeting which has brought together partners, NGOS, UN Agencies and European Union to promote and speak together for Gender Based Violence [GBV] in Dowa district saying it is the wish of Government to see to it that all are taking part in the programs of Ending Violence against Women and Girls [EVAWG].
Dr. Kainja said at the council level, Gender Based Violence [GBV] is being mainstreamed for all stakeholders and sectors to implement the activities saying the monitoring visit in the district by the UN high-level delegation has proved that Spotlight Initiatives is doing a commendable job in Dowa district with success stories.
By Vincent Gunde