Minister of Gender hails male involvement strategy

Minister of Gender Children and Social welfare, Jean Sendeza, has hailed the Male involvement strategy saying it will help to provide direction and guidance on the implementation of male engagement initiatives in Malawi.

During the launch of the strategy at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe on Wednesday, the Minister said among others, the strategy identifies key result areas which include harmful social norms, male participation in Gender Based Violence, HIV and Sexual Reproductive programmes.

“The strategy shall provide mechanisms on the policies and programmes and research and learning. These are very important focus areas that require more attention and improvement.

“We believe if well-coordinated and implemented, the strategy will significantly and sustainably contribute to the realization of gender equality in Malawi,” she said.

Sendeza: Men and boys have been left behind Pic. By Kondwani Magombo _ Mana

The Minister said Gender Based Violence (GBV) is one of the most widespread human rights abuses affecting individuals and communities everywhere.

She said GBV is a universal and complex phenomenon that poses a major public health problem and leads to the widespread violation of human rights particularly violence against women and girls, negatively affects women’s and girls’ well-being and prevent them from fully participating in socio-economic development of the country.

Sendeza said statistics show that as many as 34 percent of women aged 15-49 experience either sexual or physical abuse in their lifetime while 41 percent of girls are forced into marriages before the age of 18.

National Chairperson for Men for Gender Equality Now, Marcel Chisi said the launch of the male involvement strategy is a blueprint and a back up to activities in addressing Gender Based Violence in the country.

He said most men do not speak out and let alone condemn fellow men who perpetuate GBV issues in the communities.

“This strategy has a lot in store such as husband schools whereby boys will be taught the role of family relationships so as to prepare them in advance because the boys have been lagging behind for so long while girls are always nurtured at good age,” said Chisi.

UN Women head of programmes, Victor Maulidi said the strategy has come at a right time to spearhead awareness issues against Gender Based Violence.

Maulidi further asked the partners to reshape some issues in the communities that have been barriers to achieve the eradication of GBV in the country and ensure that the strategy is operationalized.

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