The Chewa Heritage Foundation (Chefo) is conducting a gender-based violence (GBV) training for its chiefs to ensure violence-free Chewa communities.
The three-day training is taking place in Mponela, Dowa with sponsorship from Engender Health, a non-governmental organisation that promotes rights of women and girls as well as implement programmes that empower them economically through skills development.
Speaking after opening the training on Wednesday, Chefo chairperson George KanyamaPhiri said GBV exists among Chewa people; hence, the effort to end it.
“There are some cultural practices that are violent in nature and some people still believe in property grabbing. The most sufferers in all these are women and children and we want chiefs to help us end these induced sufferings,” he said.
In her remarks, EngenderHealth director Sarai Chisala-Tempelhoff told chiefs that they can use their traditional authority to foster change in their territories.
“We call you custodians of culture and people recognise and respect the authority that you have. That is why you are targeted because we know your influence is our valuable capital,” she said.
Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare principal gender and development officer Chimwemwe Grace Kussein said government has formulated many gender programmes and policies which need active involvement of chiefs for people to understand them.
Speaking on behalf of Chewa chiefs, Senior Chief Dzoole said the chiefs will spearhead formulation of gender oriented by-laws in their territories and encourage chiefs under their authority to follow and endorse them.