By Jordan Simeon-Phiri*
Barely a year after Justice and Peace (JP) of The
Diocese of Karonga launched the HE4SHE project in Karonga District, where
Paramount Chief Kyungu was chosen the district’s UN Women HE4SHE ambassador, the
organization on Thursday engaged group village heads to review progress of the
project at a meeting that took place at Karonga Museum Amphitheatre.
Speaking at the event, Traditional Authority (TA) Kilupula,
who stood in for Paramount Chief Kyungu, said the district has made strides
through various interventions such as formation of HE4SHE clubs in primary
schools, abolition of harmful cultural practices such as chithola minga and kupimbira
and reinforcement of the existing bylaws to bring to book perpetrators.
“Since last year July, as chiefs we have done a lot to
curb gender based violence (GBV) related cases. For example, we have rescued many
girls from the jaws of early marriages and have gone back to school.
“We have also abolished harmful cultural practices
that fuel GBV related cases like traditional dances that are performed at night
and advised parents to send their girls to school and not rush them into early
marriages,” Kilupula said.
Kilupula, however, urged JP to carry out massive civic
education in the district to sensitize members of the community if the project
is to continue bearing fruits.
He further warned traditional leaders and some family
members who shield perpetrators of GBV from facing the law, saying the tendency
obstructs justice and fuels the malpractice to escalate.
Taking her turn, Principal Group Village Head Mponela
from Senior Chief Wasambo hailed the project, saying since July last year, they
have rescued 25 primary school girls from early marriages and have since written
the 2019 Primary School Leaving Certificate Examinations.
JP Project Coordinator Moses Mwakisalu said as an
organization, they are happy with strides made so far as chiefs have taken a
holistic approach to end GBV in Karonga through various interventions.
Six TAs and 60 group village head persons attended the
meeting. HE4SHE project is being implemented
by JP of Karonga Diocese with funding from UN Women.
*Contributor – 0888872348 / 0999872348