Women’s Legal Resource Center (WOLREC) Thursday aided the formation of Nsanje Media Association on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment (GEWE) to expose and moderate gender equality issues that have tremendously increased in the district.
GEWE District Coordinator for Nsanje, Evance Mathewe said the association exists to reduce women’s vulnerability to HIV and Aids by addressing harmful practices, gender based violence and other economic factors like agri-business, village savings and loans.
“WOLREC and stakeholders identified during an interface meeting several gaps existing in target sectors of health, education, agriculture and transport which need immediate action,” said Mathewe.
He explained that the idea came during the interface meeting which revealed that there are more boys than girls in schools due to some cultural values that emphasize on educating males rather than females in a society.
Mathewe said the association will help to point out issues that will promote education in the district adding that the programme’s catchment areas of Traditional Authorities Chimombo and Makoko had no secondary schools.
The coordinator also highlighted that Chimombo and Makoko areas have no health facilities but depend on Mbenje health centre which is far away from the villages.
“Challenges at Mbenje health facility include drug shortage, poor service delivery by staff, no sexual and reproductive health services offered, no services during weekends, Mondays and Thursday,” said concerned looking Mathewe.
“This media association will assist to excavate the issues that go unnoticed in the villages. The target population will therefore enjoy their rights to gender equality and women empowerment issues,” he explained.
Secretary for the newly formed association, Alfred Guta of Zodiak Broadcasting Station said the association has come at a right time when many people in the district do not understand gender issues. He said that the association will be like an eye opener to the masses.
“May all those concerned sectors make sure that they follow the cases whenever they are presented to them for the success of the association and elimination of gender based violence. People will have confidence in us when cases are concluded,” he said.
Guta, however appealed to the sectors to own the project and assist media personnel whenever they need information for publication.
The association comprises journalists working in Nsanje and child protection workers based in the catchment areas.
WOLREC is implementing a three year GEWE project under the Malawi Government programme in Nsanje and Dedza districts. The project is financed by the European Union and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).