BLAYACO RECKONS A DRASTIC DECREASE IN CASES OF CHILD MARRIAGES AND VAWG.
Bwalo La Ana Active Youth Community Organisation (BLAYACO) with support from Art & Global Health Center Africa through the Make Art For Women Activism (MAWA) project, is implementing a project which seeks to eradicate early child marriages and Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) in Chirimba, Chemusa and Mbayani, Blantyre Urban.
On the 17 of July 2022, BLAYACO held an inception meeting at chirimba primary school. The purpose of the meeting was to appraise, gain support, and align work for a participatory discussion on the roles and required contribution of all stakeholders with a focus on community ownership and sustainability of activities.
The project which can be considered as in it’s pilot phase targets Chirimba, Mbayani and Chemusa under Group Village Head Magasa (GVH.
The meeting drawed various stakeholders including but not limited to, Chiefs, Police Officers, DYO, Health Workers, School Committees, Mother Groups, Representatives from Youth Networks and Strategic key Implementing Partners.
It is evident, from the activities that were conducted and feedbacks that early marriages and VAWG are on the rise in our respective communities. Hence, stakeholders have been tasked for urgent community response aimed at addressing the vice.
According to BLAYACO management, the projects meeting was meant to enlighten the various stakeholders on their roles in the fight against VAWG and early marriages in the society.
The project which is still in the implementation stage, seeks to sensitize the community on child rights, to empower girls aged 14-17 in income generating activities, and to increase demand for SRHR services among the youth using art partcipatory approaches.
But what did the participants draw from the meeting?
According to the feedback from one of the participants Juliet Gwaza, Chirimba Primary School Committee Representative, says there is need for the project to target and engage more stakeholders who usually are involved in the making of cultural and or religious norms that fuel child marriages and VAWG.
Gwaza also pointed out the need for empowering victims of the mentioned vice economically, socially and physiologically.
Thus on her part, Advocacy and Resource Mobilisation Officer for BLAYACO Oddette Ema Do-Santos hinted on the need for statutory institutions such as the National Economic Empowerment Fund NEEF to take the loans even in the typical settings for gilrs and women to have access to the loans.
Da-Santos said, it is sad to note that we have skilled youth’s and women who lack financial support to unearth their skills, but was quick to point the objectives of this project which among others seeks to empower the less privileged and marginalized women and girls.
On recommendations from BLAYACO, Kamanga said there is a need to scale up efforts in adressing the bottleneckes crippling gender equality through more intervations aimed at adressing VAWG and child Marriages in our respective communities.