Society for Women and Aids in Malawi (Swam) has said the battle against further spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be eradicated if women and girls are protected from cultural practices that deem them inferior.
Swam programmes manager Wisdom Magwera said this on Thursday in Traditional Authority (T/A) Nkula in Machinga during a community talk show on cultures that expose women and girls to HIV infection.
The remarks come amid reports that some communities in the area prefer to marry their girls off at a tender age.
“The objective is to assure communities that no matter how good a cultural practice is, but if it infringes on the rights of women to know their HIV status and access treatment when found positive, is a wicked practice,” he said.
Magwera also said such cultural practices are counterproductive as women have the potential to contribute to the socio-economic development of the country if they are in good health.
Margret Mkwaila from Mtumba Village in the district said previously women used to face abuse as people regarded such cultural practices as norms.
She said: “Let us remember that women have the potential to contribute to the development of their areas if they are protected from abuse. As a country, we shall be accountable to anything that affects women if they are not empowered.”
The organisation is implementing the project in the district’s four T/As of Kawinga, Kapoloma, Nkula and Chikweo with support from Troicaire.