Inclusiveness in the fight against Gender Based Violence AND Sexual Reproductive Health Rights is paramount.
Expectations of seeing light at the end of the tunnel for the disability fraternity are high following the launch of a project which is inclusive in nature by Bwalo La Ana Youth Active Community Organization – BLAYACO.
The project dubbed Empowering the Economically Incapacitated, Women and Children with Disabilities by providing services that address Gender Based Violence and Sexual Reproductive Health Rights was launched on 4th February, 2023 and is being funded by Hlanganisa Institute for Development in Southern Africa.
This according to organizations fighting for the plight of people living with disabilities will improve the lives of the disability community within BLAYACO’s catchment area and Malawi at large.
According to Oddette Emma Da-Santos Project officer and Resource Mobilization officer for BLAYACO, the project is aimed at empowering women and girls who are mostly the victims of Gender Based Violence and are mostly subjected in as far as Sexual Reproductive Health Rights is concerned.
“The project is also aimed at empowering economically undermined women and Children with disability by providing services that address Gender Based Violence and sexual reproductive issues’’ says Da-Santos.
Speaking on the sidelines of the event, Da-Santos said it is worrisome that people with disability are still facing different forms of violence because there have been less efforts by organizations in including vulnerable people in decision-making positions.
The project aims at eliminating exploitation and violence faced by women and girls with disabilities aged 14-35 years by empowering and sensitizing them to collectively advocate for change on gender-based violence and reproductive health through the creation of a sustainable safe space that engages beneficiaries in innovative participatory art learning approaches that are favorable for people with disabilities.
The project’s activities will focus on promoting the economic, social, cultural, and reproductive health rights of women and girls with disabilities, specifically focusing on areas under GVH Magaa, T/A Machinjiri
The project expects to reach out to more than 100 beneficiaries women and girls, in particular.
On his part, Sungani Chitandale Programs Coordinator for Caring for Persons with Disability hailed BLAYACO and said they expect to see an end into challenges the population has been facing.
He says there are hopes of inclusiveness in the future in the work of curbing GBV and issues surrounding SRHR in both the disability community and everyone else.
“Disability is not inability and we hope our inclusion in such projects will have a positive impact” says Chitandale.
He has however stressed the need for concerted efforts in working toward achieving the intended goal.
He as well requested government and other stakeholders to work together with BLAYACO and their development partner in the fight against impunity imposed on the disability community.
On her part Martha Chilewani Blantyre District Youth Officer (Blantyre Urban) asked various organizations to be prudent in managing resources aimed at running projects to ensure realization of the potential of projects that are implemented in the district.
Gala awards graced by a youthful artist Piksy in Ireland.
An Association of Malawians based in Ireland have asked the government of Malawi to setup a platform which will enable them to aid them to investing in various sectors as a way of developing the country.
This was said during a fundraising gala award the association organized in Ireland on 10 December, 2022.
Speaking in the aftermath the event, an advisor for the association- Bishop Shanks Kaunda said Malawians in the diaspora have the capacity to invest in their native country but however the absence of well-established platforms through which they can channel funds is an existing challenge that deserves solutions.
Having scooped the Personality of the year award at the event, Kaunda emphasized that Malawians residing in Ireland can create market links for various business that can benefit both partners and grow economies on both ends.
Meanwhile, President for the Association Henry Mkumbira Phiri, proposed that they have plans to undertake a number of initiatives citing the implementation of construction of houses for the elderly in Malawi.
As an association we have a bold future, and we would want to create a big diaspora grouping and more coordinated one says Mkumbira.
Among other things the association does charity work which includes building houses for the elderly and giving out needs to the vulnerable.
The award ceremony was graced by a headliner artist Evance Zangazanga widely known as Piksy who complement the purpose of the event which was raising funds for various charity initiatives.
Some of the awards that were presented include Personality of the year, Amai special award, Amai special purpose award, best chess player of the year, and Amai got talent.
Day 13 of 16 Days of Activism
The fight against, gender based violence and violence against women and girls is said to be hindered because of lack of coordination among various stakeholders championing the fight against the vice.
This has been disclosed at a 16 Days of Activism commemoration awareness campaign Bwalo La Ana Youth Active Community Organisation BLAYACO organized in Blantyre.
During the awareness campaign, BLAYACO engaged with Health and security personnels who are said to be one of the key stakeholders in the fight against the vice.
According to BLAYACO – police as security providers have a huge role to play in the fight against GBV as they are custodians of the law.
through Sub inspector Mohamed Kulisinje of Chirimba Police said the victim support unit is an ideal place issues of gender based violence are dealt with henceforth victims should always seek help from these spotlights.
Meanwhile from the Chirimba health centre, Shaibu Makunganya a Health official asked victims of gender based violence to be seeking medical attention and should always be keen in reporting such issues.
According to Makunganya most victims fail to open up in detail every ordeal they pass through in as far as GBV is concerned.
He said currently health facilities can assist victims of GBV even before showing a police report.
Previously, health facilities could not ussher medical services to a person who has a condition thought to be from or of a violent crime.
Hospitals in Malawi only helped a person who have a medical report, meanwhile the case is now different as the health department has new laws in place which allows health personals to assist a victim even before presenting a medical report.
According to an Afrobarometer Publications
AD576: Malawians see gender-based violence as a top priority – and a criminal matter
Citizens overwhelmingly say a man is “never justified” in using physical force against his wife.
Joseph J. Chunga and Raphael Nedi 24 Nov 2022 Malawi
Malawi is party to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and has a set of laws and policies aimed at fighting gender-based violence (GBV), including the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, the Gender Equality Act, the National Gender Policy, and the National Action Plan to Combat Gender-Based Violence in Malawi 2014-2020 (Ahmed, Changole, & Wangamati, 2021; Government of Malawi, 2014; Government of Malawi, 2015 ).
Yet one-third of Malawian women have experienced physical violence since age 15, one- fifth have suffered sexual violence, and 42% of women aged 20-24 were married before age 18 (UNICEF Malawi, 2020; UN Women, 2022; Melnikas, Mulauzi, Mkandawire, & Amin, 2021). The minister of Gender, Community Development, and Social Welfare has repeatedly called for action against GBV (Gausi, 2022; Sabola, 2021), and on assuming the presidency, Lazarus Chakwera announced plans to seek stiffer penalties against those found guilty of committing GBV and to require that human rights be taught in school (Masina, 2020).
This dispatch reports on a special survey module included in the Afrobarometer Round 9 (2021/2022) questionnaire to explore Africans’ experiences and perceptions of gender-based violence.
The theme for this year is focusing on Unity as a cornerstone towards the fight against the vice.
As one way of complementing governments efforts in the work of eliminating Violence Against Women and Girls, Bwalo La Ana Youth Active Community Organisation BLAYACO sets to remind the masses about the evils of GBV.
The United Nations’ (UN) International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is an occasion for governments, international organizations and non-governmental organizations to raise public awareness of violence against women.
It has been observed on November 25 each year since 2000.
Meanwhile, this day also marks the start of the observation of 16 days of Activision against gender based violence (GBV).
As an Organisation BLAYACO will join activist from across the world who are calling for an end in all forms of gender based violence.
This years campaign is being commemorated under the theme Unite! Activism to end violence Against Women in solidarity with international community in the fight to end all forms of violence against women and girls.
As an organization that acknowledges the impact and effects of GVB, BLAYACO has previously collaborated with other Organisations in the work of curbing the vice, some of them including Art & Global Health Center Africa and Hlanganisa Institute for Development in Sourthen Africa.
Parents a Remedy to Ending Child Marriages and Violence Against Women and Girls
Bwalo La Ana Youth Active Community Organisation has embarked on adult literacy capacity trainings whose aim is curbing early marriages and violence against women and girls in the country.
The development is an activity under the implementation stage of the MAWA project which BLAYACO is working hand in hand with Art and Global Health Centre.
Recently, BLAYACO members engaged parents within their catchment area which under Group Village Head man (GVH) Mussa Magasa in Blantyre Kabula constituency.
Speaking during the training, Advocacy and Resource Mobilisation Officer for Blayaco Oddetta Emma Da Santos expressed gratitude over the response coming from the partcipating parents in the aftermath of the training.
She said, since rolling the implementation stage of the project, the response has been overwhelming and promising.
Blayaco used participatory art approaches in trying to create a platform to help sensitise the participating parents on their roles and responsibilities and enhance behavior change regarding cultural values.
Some of the participatory art activities included story telling, drama and use of visual cards which gave parents room to reflect and highlight roles parents have in issues related with child marriages and violence against women and girls.
At the end of this meeting, parents agreed to continue learning from the minutes that were discussed as they proved to be helpful ideas which will help shape the right direction of their children.
Blayaco Pens Youths as an Essential Ingredient in Ending VAWG with the Incorporation of Participatory Art.
Blayaco in collaboration with Art and Global Health Africa are in the implementation process of the Mawa project which seeks to eradicate VAWG.
The project which is being conducted in Chirimba under Group Village Headman Magasa has thus far engaged Mother groups, Youth Clubs and Parents within the catchment area.
The aim of the project is to see to it that violence against Women and Girls is curbed – starting from household level and then spread all over.
According to Oddette Emma Da – Santos who is the Advocacy and Resource Mobilisation Officer for Blayaco, the project is slowly developing and growing team working spirit which is essential in ending all sorts of violence.
She said with the incorporation of art activities such as Drama(Forum Theater), Music and Drawing, they have a great and portentous impact in the fight against the vice.
All the participatory art approaches used proved to be useful and participants were excited and eager to engage in the activities. Says Da-Santos
On her part one the participants, commended the use of forum theatre which they say has enabled facilitators to observe the insights of participants on child development and early child marriage problems, and allowed us to empathise with how they solve these problems.
They also allowed the participants by opening up a scenario of understanding of how each group (i.e., parents and youth) viewed problems within the family and how they would expect such problems to be solved.
Organisations team up in order to fill gaps that are there in trying to reach out to targeted beneficiaries.
In a bid to complement government’s effort in creating a better place for Children and Youth Bwalo La Ana Youth Active Community Organisation and Human Power Organisation Have signed a Memorandum of Understanding which will act as map to reaching out to a wider population with various developmental activities.
The two Organisations have come to terms from 12 August 2022.
Human Power Organisation (HumP) is a non profit making Organisation registered in August 2021, while Bwalo La Ana Youth Active Community Organisation (BLAYACO) as a non profit making Organisation was registered in 2009.
As per their similarities, HumP and BLAYACO respectively, support the youth towards the realisation of their dreams, by motivating and empowering youths in social – economic development, on the other hand the organisations focus on empowering the youths to actively participate in developmental roles and contributing to the country’s development.
The development has come after realizing that the two organisations have similar plans and actions aimed at reaching out to children and Youths in Malawi.
According to Executive Managers for the two organisations, Innocent Chifipa Gondwe And Samuel Kamanga respectively the MoU will creat a bridge for the gap that has been there in reaching out to Children and Youths.
The Organisations point of interest is centered on developing the life of an adolescent with mannerisms, and action centred towards developing the nation and achieving various goals including the Vision 2063.
Curbing violence against women and girls VAWG using art.
BLAYACO hopeful of enhancing the capacity of Mother groups, and Youth structures within the Organisations catchment area and further – on early child marriage and violence against women and girls.
BLAYACO team used various approaches aimed at instilling capacity in the participants with hopes of curbing the vice.
The Organisation used various approaches including engaging with the participating members existing knowledge through complementary participatory art approaches to be used in carrying out their work.
The following is a pectorial presentation of the entire session.
A time to reflect on the achievements of the youth’s and contributions to the vision 2063.
As one way of delivering it’s set plan of actions Bwalo La Ana Youth Active Community Organisation has joined the rest of the World in commemorating the International Youth Day.
Before ascending to power, the Tonse government promised to provide employment opportunities to a million youths(Creation of One million jobs for the youths)
Meanwhile, recently, some section of the Youth have been taking to the street fighting for a transformation in the socialeconomic well being of youth and citizens in general.
The purpose of the International Youth Day is to raise awareness of any issues that may be facing the world’s youth to celebrate their achievements.
In Malawi, alot of youths have achieved numerous developments in various aspects of education, energy, health, trade and economy, mining etc.
The youths have thus been optimistic in achieving the vision 2063.
Pope John Paul II was inspired to establish World Youth Day in 1986 by the church’s Youth Jubilee (1984), a special meeting between the pope and young Catholics held at the conclusion of the 1983–84 Year of Jubilee, and by the United Nations International Youth Year (1985).
Organisations have the ability to curbing human trafficking.
Bwalo La Ana Youth Active Community Organisation BLAYACO has joined the rest of the world in commemorating the World day against trafficking in persons.
This day was set aside in order to provide a room to be raising awareness about issues of human trafficking.
According to the United Nations – Trafficking in persons (TIP) is complex and dynamic act which involves recruiting, transporting, harboring and possession of human beings through fraudulent means with an aim of exploiting them for profit.
The UN says Traffickers often use violence or fraudulent employment agencies and fake opportunities to trick and coerce victims.
And being a global issue Malawi has not been spared from this vice, and with increase in the unemployment rate in the country many youths are at the verge of being victims of this malpractice.
And as one of it’s thematic areas, Blayaco has projects and plans that focus on ending child labor and trafficking of humans.
The theme for this year’s World Day against Trafficking in persons is “Use and Abuse of Technology” technology has lately been the hub of Trafficking as many people have been awarded false online opportunities which have rendered them wanting.
Meanwhile this year’s theme focuses on the role of technology as a tool that can both enable and impede human trafficking.