Woman at radio station (Photo Jeroen van Loon)
| Author: Talimba Bandawe | Function: National Programme Coordinator Malawi

Malawi learns from Zimbabwe how to end gender based violence

In November 2014, a team of representatives from the Malawi SRHR Alliance visited Zimbabwe to learn how Zimbabwean civil society aims to reduce sexual and gender based violence. The visit was part of the Unite for Body Rights! Programme which has been implemented in nine countries in Africa and Asia. Unite for Body Rights’ partners regularly organise visits between national alliances.

Multi sector approach

Several NGOs from Zimbabwe showed their Malawian colleagues how they aim to always involve multiple stakeholders. In cooperation with government departments representing the police, social welfare and the judicial system, the NGOs have been able to form a clear referral system that ensures that survivors of violence are properly supported so they can fully participate in society again. Clearly the Malawi SRHR alliance learned that lesson early on, which is why the delegation included a representative from the Malawi Ministry of Gender - one of the main partners of the Alliance  working on ending sexual and gender based violence.

 

Malawi SRHR alliance members

Medical services

Two of the NGOs focus on the provision of medical services to survivors of sexual violence. These services are for example STI screening, counselling and care, but they also include providing medication such as post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to reduce the risk of HIV infection. One of the NGOs not only provides counselling but also actively offers shelter to survivors of sexual violence who cannot go home due to the unsafe situation.

Community Empowerment

The Malawi Alliance representatives also learned how communities in Zimbabwe are becoming more sensitive about gender based violence.  Trained community volunteers coordinate sensitization meetings, and are empowered to report cases of sexual violence to Victim Friendly Police Units. “We encourage the communities to report gender based violence,” one volunteer explained: “But we also speak with Government officials to increase security in their areas in order  to prevent such violence and to provide adequate support to survivors of violence.”

 

Talimba Bandawe National Programme Coordinator Malawi

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