Malawian married women fear to insist on condom use -YONECO

Some of the participants at Yoneco training in Mulanje....Photo Jeromy Kadewere
Some of the participants at Yoneco training in Mulanje….Photo Jeromy Kadewere

Most Malawian married women are often afraid to ask their husbands to use a condom during sex as one way of preserving their marriage, there by exposing themselves to contract an HIV Virus which causes AIDS.

The revelation was made on Tuesday in Mulanje district during the training of promoting elimination of gender based violence and the spread of HIV through the use of African Transformation tool kit which was organised by YouthNet and Counselling (YONECO).

The tool kit comprise of assorted materials that are used to generate discussions against gender based violence and promote prevention of the spread of HIV and AIDS.

In the project which is intending to monitor and mentor facilitators from 50 Community Based Care in 10 T/As implementing African Transformation has 985 Males and 2041females.

According to YONECO’s executive director Mac Bain Mkandawire, the aim of the project which is funded by United States Agency For International Development in conjunction with John Hopkins is to increase CBOs competence in facilitating normative behaviour change toolkits of Tasankha and the African Transformation tool kit for the
transformation of their communities, where men and women mutually respect each other and participate in equitable decision making and resource allocation.

Mkandawire said YONECO implements the activities in the Southern Region districts of Phalombe, Thyolo, Mulanje, Chiradzulu, Chikhwawa, Nsanje, Blantyre, Machinga, Zomba, Mwanza and Neno.

“As Yoneco we have a number of activities for 2012-2013. For instance, in this project we are  Training of the Africa Transformation Community Facilitators in five new districts of Thyolo, Zomba, Machinga, Neno and Mwanza as well as scale up AT in new T/As in the 6 districts where AT is already being implemented,” he said.

He also said the revised total number of T/As to be reached in the 11 districts will be 35 and a total of 350 people from 175 CBOs will be trained and total target for AT is 42,000.

Mkandawire also emphasasized that  they will Conduct monitoring of Tasankha Community Based Facilitators trainings and AT Community workshops in partnership with Save the Children and other BRIDGE II

However, during Tuesday’s training in Mulanje, it was revealed that one of the challenges in eliminating of gender based violence and the spread of HIV is that most women fear to ask their husbands to use a condom during sex despite knowing that their husband’s behaviour is promiscuous.

It was learnt that the women face the dilemma of choosing between economic survival and unsafe sex. Since men perceive condoms as reducing sexual sensitivity, they are unlikely to remain with a partner who insists on condom use.

Phalombe district Social Welfare officer, John Taulo who was the trainer said most of the women in marriages are suffering in silence because they do not have the courage to force their husbands use protective methods during sex.

“Most men are adamant about not wearing a condom insisting that once they have married there is no need to use a condom with their wife despite knowing that they have multiple relationships. Most women are infected with an HIV virus because of slack of power to insist on their husband use a condom during sex,” he said.

He suggested to the trainers that they should take a leading role in sensitising couples on the important of using a condom even though being married.

Chipping in was one trainee Mercy Kamulete, who said many husband refuses to wear a condom – claiming that they will not feel as emotionally connected to their wives.

“They always said wearing a condom decreases their emotional connection, this indicates to us (women) that their emotional satisfaction in the bedroom is directly linked to his level of physical satisfaction which would obviously be decreased by wearing a condom. As a result l just let his wish to happen,” she said.

It was noted that reconstruction of gender-based power relationships and improvements in women’s economic status are essential to reduce women’s dependence on sexual exchange relationships.

Yoneco executive director Mac Bain Mkandawire (standing) share notes wiyh participants......Photo By Jeromy Kadewere
Yoneco executive director Mac Bain Mkandawire (standing) share notes wiyh participants……Photo By Jeromy Kadewere

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