Gender and Justice Unit has engaged traditional leaders in Lilongwe to help enhance access to justice for gender-based violence (GBV) survivors.
To accomplish their tasks, the non-governmental organisation(NGO) has trained traditional leaders from Chitipi, Chigwirizano, Lumbadzi and Mtandire on gender-related laws.
The NGO has also taught the leaders on how to refer GBV survivors to supportive services.
Speaking on Saturday on the sidelines of the training in Lilongwe, Gender and Justice Unit executive director Sarai Chisala-Tempelhoff said traditional leaders are key stakeholders in the informal justice system as they serve as first responders on GBV cases at community level.
“If traditional leaders are empowered with legal literacy to know and to use the laws to enhance access to justice for victims, we believe that will mean improved access to justice for victims at community level,” she said.
Tempelhoff also said many people do not know the contents of gender-related laws and where to report sexual harassment.
Village head Kanyemba of Mtandire said traditional leaders do not know much about gender-related laws.
He said the training equipped them with skills on how to handle GBV cases in their communities.
“We didn’t know most of these things. For instance, now we know that property grabbing and child marriages are against the law,” said the chief.
Lilongwe district child protection worker Maureen Banda said she was optimistic that the fight against GBV will improve in communities.
“We have been working with traditional leaders but most of them did not know gender-related laws. We expect that the training has equipped them with knowledge to fight the vice in their areas,” she said.