Malawi News Agency (Lilongwe)

1 July 2014

Malawi: Empower Women Economically to Eradicate Gender Based Violence and HIV/Aids

Blantyre — The World University Service of Canada (WUSC) said empowering women economically can help to reduce gender based violence and minimize further spread of HIV and Aids as women would meet their daily needs to reduce their vulnerability.

WUSC Country Director, Jacob Mapemba made the statement on Thursday at Nkhalango Community Based Organisation under Women for Fair Development (WOFAD) in Traditional Authority Kuntaja Blantyre at a function held as part of field visitation of projects sponsored by his organization.

Mapemba noted that most gender based violence in families is fueled by poverty among women as they have no choice but to cling to husbands even if they go out with other women.

"You will find out that a husband goes out with another woman but because the spouse has no money she will still cling to the same husband hence the high rate of cases of HIV and Aids in the society," said Mapemba .

He said it was for this reason that his organization decided to sponsor the activities such as 'Ifenso Tili ndi Ufulu' a project that trains women especially those with HIV and Aids on their rights, economic empowerment and farming among others which have been implemented by WOFAD since 2012 and it expires September this year.

According to Mapemba, his organization currently has two working partners WOFAD and Coalition for Women Living with HIV and Aids (COWLHA) in Blantyre and Nkhotakota.

He, however, said plans are underway to expand its partnership with other stakeholders in other districts.

At the function, WUSC donated K85,000 to Nkhalango CBO for women to start small scale businesses and a bicycle ambulance for easy transportation of patients to the hospital.

In her remarks, Executive Director for WOFAD, Ellina Matanya, was grateful to WUSC for its good partnership that existed in the past two years her organization has been with WUSC.

She said her organization will sustain the WUSC activities through locally available resources such as dimba farming and Bank Mkhonde .

Speaking earlier, T/A Machinjiri commended the work done by WOFAD in his area, saying stigma and discrimination have reduced since the coming of WOFAD.

"I have noted that since people got trained about their rights and economic empowerment of women gender based violence in families have drastically decreased in my area," h acknowledged.

Guest of honour at the function was District Aids Coordinator (DAC) for Blantyre, Loveness Chikumba who applauded WOFAD for coming up with projects that uplift the livelihoods of the rural masses.

The ceremony was characterised by drama and traditional dances, among others.

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