Joyce Banda who became the first female president of Malawi and the second in African history, continues to place her focus in helping the underpriviledged people as she hosted a fundraising event aimed at raising funds for vulnerable children and orphans.
First lady Monica Chakwera and Spouse to Vice President Madam Mary Chilima graced the event that attracted an impressive turn out last Sunday.
Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare, Patricia Kaliati, other cabinet ministers, Members of Parliament and members of the civil society were in attendance.
First Lady delivered her speech entitled “Empowering the Girl Child for a better Future”. The theme for the fundraiser was “Gender Based Violence: Everybody’s Responsibility.’
The keynote address set the tone for the discussion that followed, as it ably placed the girl child at the centre. It brought forth the situation analysis of the gender disparities between the boy and the girl child as they go through the educational system, the differential socialization that places one gender above the other, and cultural and religious beliefs.
“School drop- outs due to early marriages, pregnancies and lack of financial support are some of the challenges we are facing as a country, I am very worried with the rising cases of rape, this is a spiritual war and I urge you all to pray for our country, we need to deal away with the vice,” said the First Lady.
She called upon all relevant stakeholders to stand up for the girls and the vulnerable saying prevention is better than cure.
The participants heard presentations from two key panellists who gave their analyses from two different perspectives.
Mary Chilima made a presentation entitled ‘Economic Empowerment of Women as a Tool to Fight Against GBV and Create a Conducive Environment for The Girl Child at Home.’
In her presentation, she argued that most of the gender disparities are perpetuated by society by celebrating and tolerating boys’ improper sexual behavior towards girls, while being harsh and intolerant with the girl child. Easy access to pornography was cited as having negative impact on boys’ behavior.
Her practical examples shared proof that if properly supported and encouraged, girls too can excel in life and take up leadership roles in the family and society.
“Economic empowerment for women is key to social and political transformation,” said Chilima.
Minister of Gender Community Development and Social Welfare Patricia Kaliati echoed Chakwera and Chilima’s assertions calling for conceded efforts in dealing with Gender based violence that is currently on rampage.
“Curbing GBV is a responsibility of all of us, as government, we will focus on enumerating the policy and programmatic environment as well as legal instruments in place to protect the women and children from GBV.
Her presentation was entitled “Steps government is undertaking in curbing Gender Based Violence.”
Songs, dance and testimonies formed part of the event as well as background information. A video documentary depicting the work of the Former President, Joyce Banda was also shared as testimony of the possible achievements when an individual, groups of NGOs or civil society consistently addresses the plight of women and girls for twenty years plus. Participants discussed and shared their own sentiments on the topic.
The meeting agreed that Gender Based Violence must be eliminated decisively and urgently if Malawi is to have sustainable socio-economic political and cultural development where half of the population equally enjoys the benefits of the hard-earned fundamental freedoms.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :