• Tue. Aug 22nd, 2023

Malawi Exclusive

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Government says Spotlight Initiative has contributed to mindset change

By Vincent Gunde
The Ministry of Local Government, Unity and Culture says Spotlight Initiative through different pillars which are laws and policies, strengthening institutions, prevention, services, data and Women’s Movement, has contributed significantly to the mindset change of the rural people specifically on sexual and gender based violence.

The Ministry said this through the programme and reports from the six implementing districts including Dowa, several community structures have been established in the Local Authorities targeting women, girls, men and boys.
It said within the same programme, the Ministry and the Local Authorities have developed a number of policies and by-laws to enhance the continued efforts in ending Gender Based Violence [GBVs] and getting the necessary support from various institutions.

Speaking during a District Executive Committee (DEC) meeting in Dowa, the Ministry’s Chief Economist Owen Nalivaka, said the involvement of the traditional leaders has resulted in the abolition of detrimental cultural practices that support violence against women and girls at the local level.

Nalivaka said the Ministry will lobby for increased funding from Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs through National Local Government Finance Committee [NLGFC] to continue implementing some of the prioritized interventions under the programme as government is keeping its fingers crossed towards Spotlight 2.0 or whatever it may be called.
He said various social and economic groupings such as Village Savings Loans [VSLs] were created to spearhead the socio-economic status of people in the district saying the ideal for the country was to scale up the activities to all other districts to benefit all rural people in the country.
The Chief Economist said decentralization in the councils has been strengthened with Spotlight Initiative through empowering Gender Technical Working Groups [GTWG], Area Development Committees [ADCs], Village Development Committees [VDCs], and many more.

“I am seeing a team of technocrats that have made Spotlight Initiative a very successful programme in Dowa having achieved a number of issues specifically in reducing sexual and Gender Based Violence as well as eliminating harmful cultural practices at community level.

He said Spotlight Initiative has placed Local Authorities in a positive pathway in achieving some of the goals of Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs] and the Malawi 2063 observing that through the Chiefs Forum, chiefs have played an important role in enforcing by-laws that deal with ending violence against women and girls.

In his remarks, District Commissioner for Dowa Stallichi Mwambiwa, assured the Ministry that they are ready to move forward with Spotlight programmes claiming that people have already seen that the initiative has contributed to mindset change among rural communities.

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