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.
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.