Gewe has empowered Malawi women – Chitipa magistrate 

First grade magistrate for Chitipa, Julius Kalambo has said more and more women are coming forth to report cases of gender based violence happening within their communities.

Kalambo: It's no longer a taboo for a wife to report their husbands.
Kalambo: It’s no longer a taboo for a wife to report their husbands.

Speaking during field tour aimed to assess the impact of the Gender Equality Empowerment Programme (Gewe ) being implemented by the ministry of gender through UNFPA, Kalambo said the programme has unleashed and brought out issues which were otherwise tamed taboos.

“Out of the 200 cases which were tackled between 2014 and 2015 about 95 of them had to do with women wanting divorces due to their husbands deserting them. Others due to gender based violence,” he said.

Kalambo said most of the marriages had to do with under age marriages who could not cope with the pressures of marriage.

He also said the funding which was provided to his office amounting to over K1 million has also helped in delivering timely justice to women in different communities within Chitipa.

“The funding which was given has helped hundreds of women understand their role in marriages. There’s an area called Kameme which is almost 60 kilometres away from Chitipa Boma. Due to the distance women were failing to come and deliver their cases at the boma hence suffered in silence.

“But when the funds came which was in 2014, I immidiately started going to that area and so many issues came up. We did awareness campaigns in all the villages within TA Kameme and the villagers started to respond. Of course it took a while but here we are with over 200 cases in Kameme alone,” he said.

According to court records, some of the cases include rape, defilement, gender based violence and family desertion. Further  court  records indicate that Kameme village registered less 20 cases before the funds were being provided but the number almost tripped when Kalambo started to frequent place.

Chairperson of the Gewe district technical working group, Winfrey Mowa said the committee has a well structured committee which tackles all issues faced by the communities in a holistic manner for effective operation.

He said the committee has subcommittees such as health, education, social welfare,media, judiciary all which are interlinked.

“We decided to have subcommittees so that members know exactly who me they want for help. If it’s a matter related with education, they go straight to meet the people involved in education and same goes for other subcommittees. We have members of the police whim we work with so that they help in ceasing gender based violence perpetrators and also a nurse who helps in examining children who have been defiled or raped,” he said.

According to him, the social welfare department also helps in providing counselling to all those who are a grieved.

“We are currently working on having a One Stop Health Centre which will enable all the committees to converge and work in one building. This also helps the communities in terms of mobility,” he said.

The Three year Gewe project is being run with funding from the European Union (EU). The main objectives of the programme is to accelerate efforts to advance gender equality and equity as a human right for the reduction of HIV and Aids and poverty in line with Malawi growth and development strategy.

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