Malawi Council of Churches,  Dowa chiefs say enough of gender-based violence

“We cannot go on and watch as we suffer. Enough is enough!” These are the words that have been echoed from church and traditional leaders under Traditional Authorities Chakhaza and Kayembe in Dowa district against gender-based violence (GBV).

Sensitisation meeting in Dowa
Sensitisation meeting in Dowa
Sensitisation meeting in Dowa

During a six days GBV and Harmful Cultural practices Sensitisation stint by the Malawi Council of Churches (MCC), it was revealed that lack of awareness, a sense of referral actors, and presence of dogmatic church principals and harmful cultures orchestrated grave and continued cases of GBV.

As a two day section of the meetings was taking place at Chakhaza Magistrates Court, a report came second day morning that a man had committed suicide after a misunderstanding with his wife.

The same day evening an elderly couple also separated after a misunderstanding that ensued into a fight and the wife ran away to her village during the cover of night.

“What we are experiencing here is just the tip of an iceberg. In the past years of the project that we have been in other parts of Dowa under this project, a lot of people have either killed themselves or killed others, raped and defiled women and children, gravely hurt partners, and forced children into early marriages and pregnancies. With such Sensitisation reports have started to come out through our Church Action Groups (CAGs),” explains M’theto Lungu, Programs Officer at MCC.

The activity took two days in each of the three venues at Chakhaza Court, Kabwinja Primary School, and Kayembe Primary School.

Others raised issues include corruption by some chiefs and police officers and primary school teachers.

The communities bemoaned that arrested culprits are released the same day they are picked up despite glaring evidence of physical, psychological and financial violence.

At TA Kayembe, there is no court and police unit so much that people threaten chiefs who report them to far reached referral agencies.

With our new committee and the support of MCC and more Sensitisation and trainings to come, we are sure we shall arrest this problem. “We have suffered a lot,” they echoed.

Finally, the committees strongly believe that some form of identity such as t-shirts, caps and IDs and transport in terms of bicycles as the intervention area is huge, are required for impact.

The Churches Council approaches GBV issues through CAGs made up of members of it’s member churches, chiefs, teachers and health unit officials in each targeted TA.

MCC is implementing a GBV Project with support from the Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) funded by the Royal Norwegian Embassy (RNE).

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