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Blantyre District Council challenged to popularise NMEP, anti-sexual policy

Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare has urged Blantyre District Council to popularise the National Male Engagement Strategy (NMES) and Public Service Workplace Anti-Sexual Harassment Policy in all places.

Principal Gender and Development Officer in the ministry, Hannah Kisyombe, made the remarks on Thursday in Blantyre during the dissemination meeting of the two documents that have been developed by Ministry of Gender in collaboration with its partners.

Kisyombe said the strategy was developed after noting gaps of male involvement in the promotion of gender equality, elimination of Gender Based Violence (GBV) and prevention of HIV and improvement in Sexual Reproductive Health.

She said that the policy was also developed after noting increased cases of sexual harassment and abuse at various workplaces.

She said the ministry is optimistic that the two documents will provide direction and guidance in its implementation to enhance male participation and also creating a sexual-free workplace for the officers.

Principal Gender Officer Hannah Kisyombe making a presentation during the meeting. Pic by Memory Chatonda-Mana

“Male engagement strategy will help us ensure that people, especially men and boys, are aware that issues of GBV need to be discouraged at all cost while at the same time, the document advocates for gender equality and also promotes the uptake of Sexual Reproductive Health services among men.

“On the other hand, sexual harassment policy at workplace is also very essential because it helps the Council to establish a mechanism where victims will be reporting sexual abuse within their working jurisdictions,” she said.

Kisyombe, therefore, advised the Council to use every platform available to raise awareness about the strategy and policy for public consumption.

Blantyre District Council Principal Gender Officer, Joseph Stephano, said the Council has already gone miles ahead in implementation of the strategy and the policy, and also making it known to the public.

“Male engagement strategy is now part of the gender sector reform area and focuses on promoting meaningful participation of men through reporting of cases using open spaces. Currently, we are implementing activities to support the quest, while on policy, we are yet to designate people who will be responsible to institute and manage sexual harassment committee,” he said.

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