With local leaders being the closest to vulnerable members and marginalized groups, Traditional Authority Njema has urged communities to join hands in safeguarding the well-being of girls and women during time of disasters.
TA Njema made the call during an enlightening and sensitization campaign session organized by Extra Mile Development Foundation (EMDEF) in collaboration with Mulanje Youth Organisation.
In his remarks, TA Njema acknowledged that, based on media reports, it cannot be denied that instances of Sexual Gender Based Violence have occurred in camps at the onset of Cyclone Freddy.
“Unfortunately, many victims have chosen not to report these cases due to threats from the perpetrators. We cannot ignore the fact that cases of SGBV have been reported in our campsites.
“Some victims have been intimidated into not reporting these incidents. As leaders, we will work closely with EMDEF and its partner organization to bolster the protection committee and ensure the safety of girls and women” said Njema.
Towera Ngwira, the Project Lead at EMDEF, expressed satisfaction with the community support for the collaborative efforts.
“There is urgent need to prioritize the safety and well-being of girls and women, especially in times of crisis. It is significant to raise awareness, advocating for victims’ rights, and implementing effective strategies to prevent or address SGBV at community level,” she said.
The session by EMDEF brought together various stakeholders, including camp leaders and representatives from different council departments such as the district youth office, social welfare, and child protection unit.
The gathering was aimed at raising awareness about the importance of community collaboration in addressing the issue of gender-based violence (GBV) within campsites.
With financial support from Urgent Action Fund, EMDEF is currently running a three months project from June – August, 2023 aimed at advocating and safeguarding the rights of young women and girls who have been affected by Cyclone Freddy in Mulanje at Nanchidwa and Nanvidiyo camps.