UN provides 940 bicycles to Malawi for gender-based violence fight

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) says services on gender based violence (GBV) should continue operating amid the coronavirus  pandemic to save girls and women from the vice as  Ministry of Gender, Child Development and Community Development has received 940 bicycles and 60 motorcycles from the United Nation’s (UN) Spotlight Initiative for use by GBV service providers in communities.

Navicha (L) symbolically receives a bicycle from Young Wan Hong in Lilongwe.-Photo by Govati Nyirenda, Mana

Speaking on Wednesday when she presented the items on behalf of the UN community, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) country representative Won Young Hong said the items  – worth US$284 000 (over MK209 million) -are expected to ease mobility challenges for service providers in their efforts to reach out to vulnerable groups in hard-to-reach areas.

“Gender based violence requires mobility of the service provider to reach out to those women and girls affected by the virus.

“So in the rural areas, it’s difficult for women and girls to reach those service providers. The service provider also needs to have means to travel to reach out to those girls and women,” said Hong.

“So that’s why these bicycles and motorbikes are handed over today to be used by the frontline service providers to be able to serve girls and women against GBV,” she added.

UNFPA’S donation of motorbikes and bicycles, and spare parts to the Gender Ministry is with support from European Union (EU) through the Spotlight Initiative whose aim is to eliminate gender based violence.

According to Hong, the expectation is that the donation will help service providers reach out to 2.8 million affected women, girls, men and boys directly and 8.2 million indirectly.

On her part, Minister of Gender, Child and Community Development, Mary Navicha said the donation is timely-when government is fighting the Coronavirus.

“My ministry is leading a social protection structure in a committee of COVID-19 presidential taskforce and we have several programs including fighting for women and girls, persons with disability and other vulnerable groups.

“So, the coming in of this donation will really assist our cluster,” said the minister.

Chief Director for Local Government and Rural Development, Ernest Kantchentche advised local councils who are custodians of the items to take proper care of them to ensure they serve their intended purpose.

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