Malawi’s Minister of Gender, Child and Social Welfare Patricia Kaliati has launched a three-year Malawi ‘UNITED 2ACT’ Campaign.
The campaign seeks to reduce the prevalence rate of sexual violence against women, girls and children in the country by about 15 percent by 2017.
The initiative, launched on Tuesday, follows Malawi’s commitments on gender and international conventions on the rights of children and women.
Speaking at the launch, Kaliati said government will ensure that each and every tambala is used to “unite” and “act” until women and girls in the country are safe and free from violence.
According to the minister, sexual violence against women and girls remain an obstacle to reaching many developments in the country.
Said Kaliati: “Violence comprises the largest outlay of public and private funds in our society. It increases absenteeism and many long-term effects on victims.”
She said if only Malawians can unite to end sexual violence, government will significantly save public and private funds on violence related cases as well as have enough resources for meeting obligations on other economic and social rights of the citizens.
Earlier, Action Aid country director Martha Khonje said if Malawi can unite to end sexual violence, women, girls and children would live dignified lives.
Said Khonje: “If Malawians can unite to fight against sexual violence, communities will benefit through increased women productivity and reduced cost on sexual violence.”
On her part, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) Gender Coordination Network (NGO-GCN) coordinator Emma Kaliya applauded the country’s gender movement for their continuous mobilisation to fight sexual violence, especially in the fight against early child marriages.
According to the 2010 Malawi Demographic Survey report, prevalence rate of sexual violence against women and girls in the country is at 25 percent and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) recent survey has shown a prevalence rate of child marriage in Malawi at 49 percent.