By Demetria Banda
United Nations (UN) representative Rudolf Schwenk has expressed satisfaction with interventions to end Gender Based Violence(GBV) in Dowa under economic empowerment project that is being implemented in TA Msakambewa by The Catholic Development Commission (CADECOM), one of the partners of Spotlight Initiative.
Speaking in an interview after visiting T/A Msakambewa on Thursday, 17th June 2021 to appreciate the status of GBV response and stakeholder coordination, towards accelerated efforts to Eliminate Violence against Women and girls (EVAWG). Schwenk commended efforts by stakeholders towards the project’s goals.
“Am impressed with the commitment by the Community, Traditional Authority, Members of Parliament and our implementing Partners for all the efforts they are making in the community, it is evident that we are working together to eliminate gender based violence. It gives hope to see the hardworking women groups and hear their testimonies of how this has helped change their lives,” said Schwenk.
In his Remarks, Deputy Speaker of Parliament Madalitso kazombo said he is also impressed with the progress of the project’
“I am impressed to see women who were once been abused but are now free and the school dropouts who have gone back to school. This is an indication that women and girls are championing the elimination of violence against women and girls in the area,” he said.
Principal Secretary for the Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare, Isaac Katopola said he was happy with the efforts by the Spotlight Initiative to end GBV and continued that the ministry will do everything possible to make sure that women and children are protected including provision of family roles aimed at the protection of the vulnerable groups.
Traditional Authority Msakambewa challenged authorities to consider the inclusion of men and boys in their programs as reports indicate that men and boys are increasingly becoming victims of GBV as well.
A 20-year old GBV survivor Lontia Samson from Njiwa village in the area said she has seen light at the end of the tunnel after CADECOM stepped in to aid her economically.
“I now own a saloon that earns me enough for my dairy needs, being able to take care of my family and I don’t lack anything as was the case before I joined the women group. I also managed to buy goats and chickens with my savings from the group,” said Samson.
According to CADECOM’s National Coordinator Chimwemwe Sakunda, since the project received funding from UN Women through Spotlight Initiative they have managed to empower 43 women in Dowa District.
“We have achieved a number of things including enhancement of Gender Based Violence survivors’ entrepreneurship skills, adult Literacy and providing them with access to financial resources among others,” she explained.
One of the objectives of CADECOM is to see women and girls who have experienced violence use available, accessible and acceptable quality essential services for long term recovery from violence hence their involvement in the spotlight initiative.
Titukule Msakambewa Women Club comprise 43 members who are training each other in various skills such as tailoring, bakery, bee keeping, irrigation farming and others are also attending adult literacy classes