Government has challenged traditional and community leaders in Dowa and Ntchisi to take a leading role in safeguarding and promoting the rights of girls and women in their societies.
Gender Officer in the Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare, Kondwani Mhone, observed that violence is contributed to rising levels of inequalities in Malawi.
Mhone made the sentiments at Mponela in Dowa on Monday during a daylong training to equip traditional and community leaders with skills for addressing sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) in their areas.
The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) organized the training workshop in partnership Child Rights Advocacy and Paralegal Aid Centre (CRAPAC) under the project titled 'Raising the Voice of Women in the Fight against Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG)'.
UN Women is financing the project under its Spotlight Initiative, which provides holistic approach to ending violence targeted at women and girls.
Mhone challenged traditional and community leaders to take advantage of the respect and authority they wield in the society to inculcate a culture of respect for the rights of women and girls.
"Violence is a catalyst for gender inequality. Thus, if we end violence, we will be able to address inequality thereby leaving no one behind in our pursuit for social and economic development of our societies," he said.
In his remarks, CCJP Head of Programmes Patrick Chima emphasized the need for traditional and community leaders to mobilize men and boys to challenge harmful cultural practices that perpetuate violence against women and girls.
Chima said the Commission remains committed to working with various stakeholders, including chiefs, in ending all forms of violence in Malawi.
In the previous weeks, CCJP and CRAPAC trained leaders of local structures such as community-based educators (CBEs), health workers and women groups so that they spearhead a structural intervention that aims to reduce the acceptance and prevent the incidence of violence.