In an effort to address challenges faced by adolescent girls and young women as a result of Gender Based Violence (GBV), Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO) has identified more men and boys in Mulanje district to strengthen the fight.
The identified men and boys, who are known as male champions, and are from all the Traditional Authorities in the district, will join the already established male champions who are currently working in the district.
In a five-day exercise, YONECO with support from Police Victim Support Unit, Social Welfare Officers, Youth Network chairpersons, Village Development Committees (VDCs), mother groups, religious leaders and already established male champions, have identified additional male champions from ten Area Development Committees (ADCs) across the district and are expected to be trained soon.
The male champions have been drawn from different primary and secondary schools, out of school, and those with positions of influence including religious leaders.
Before the identification processes began in all centers, one of the officers from YONECO, who also facilitated the exercise, Richard Nkhonjera, emphasized to the participants the need to choose Boys and young men with clean track record who respect gender equality and are not involved in Gender Based Violence (GBV).
Nkhonjera said: “Male champions are supposed to be the role models to the community so there is need to choose those who have good behaviour, hardworking and willing to carry out voluntary work.”
One of the male champions, Tiyese Mpatama Banda, from Majawa village, who also participated in the identification exercise, asked YONECO to provide them with more training, especially in highlighting them on constitutional laws governing the promotion and protection of a girl child.
Speaking in separate interview, male champions from various communities highlighted a number of cases they have been handling in their respective working localities saving more young girls from different human rights violence in the process.
The male champions who have been identified and those already trained for the task are ranging from the ages of 10-40 years.
YONECO is implementing the Comprehensive Action for Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) project in Mulanje with financial support from the Global Fund through Action Aid and Christian Aid.