Ntchisi — As a response to increased cases of gender based violence (GBV) in Ntchisi district, Action Aid Malawi under the Spotlight Initiative, has trained girls in the district who will be mentoring their fellow girls on how best they can address such issues.
Ntchisi is one of the districts with increased cases of gender based violence, currently at 22 percent hence it is among the 6 pilot districts where the Spotlight Initiative will be implemented.
The initiative is a Malawi Government programme which focuses on ending violence against women and girls, including sexual and gender based violence and harmful practices.
Action Aid Head of Business Development and Communications, Tiwonge Kumwenda Simkonda said the mentors are going to provide support and training to other girls on GBV in the community.
"These mentors who are 15 in total will also play a big role in addressing cultural and social norms that perpetuate violence," she said.
According to Simkonda, Action Aid has also been working together with other key stakeholders in the district namely the Ntchisi Women Forum, police, judiciary and health care workers among others by building their capacity on how they can provide essential services.
"We have also engaged traditional leaders on how they can challenge social and cultural practices that perpetuate violence because we believe that they are the gate keepers and they have an understanding as well as the influence to stop harmful cultural practices," she said.
One of the participants to the training, Salome Chunga said she is looking forward to assist girls in her community who face various forms of gender based violence.
She cited child marriages as one of the common challenges being faced by young girls in her area.
She said the practice is mostly facilitated by their own parents who opt to marry them off for financial gains.
The districts Director of Education, Youth and Sports, Sarah Khozi Jere advised the mentors to be exemplary in their areas.
The Spotlight Initiative is being implemented in Ntchisi, Dowa, Zomba, Nkhatabay, Machinga and Nsanje districts with funding from the European Union (EU).