Spotlight Initiative Leaves a Mark in MHG
Authorities in Machinga have disclosed that 1909 girls from 22 traditional authorities have been withdrawn from early marriages since the inception of the European Union and United Nations funded Spotlight Initiative (SI) in the district in 2019.
Speaking during a sustainability meeting marking phasing out of Spotlight Initiative 1.0 in the district, Machinga district gender officer Olive Msyamboza said the establishment of community bylaws and community victim support units influenced the success.
Msyamboza says 10 229 girls graduated in three cohorts of safe spaces mentorships whose mentors managed to identify and withdraw 381 girls from child marriages and re-administered over 686 girls in schools.
She however says within the period, 9234 gender based violence cases were reported through community victim support units.
Chief economist in the ministry of local government Owen Nalivaka has called on councils to use local resources in sustaining the gains which spotlight initiative,
Nalivaka says the government will be implementing the chief’s policy which will guide chief’s councils in ensuring that issues of gender-based violence in communities are dealt with.
“As you know chiefs are custodians of culture and we expect them to be guided by the newly established chief’s policy, as some cultural practices need to be abolished,” said Nalivaka.
Principal gender development officer in the ministry of gender, community development and social welfare Hanna Kisyombe says decision makers such as lawmakers and councilors need to take part in sustaining the project by pumping in more resources.
She says her ministry is currently lobbying its partners for funds to disseminate the male engagement strategy to district councils.
Spotlight Initiative has been implemented in six districts of the country and authorities have disclosed version 2.0 of the initiative will return.