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.