By Norbert Tambalamtuwa Mzembe
Cases of gender based violence (GBV) are on the decline in Karonga with the help of the Primary Justice Project being championed being managed by the Justice and Peace Desk of Karonga Diocese.
This was revealed during the monitoring visit to Lupembe conducted by the Justice and Peace Desk in conjunction with the District Commissioner for Karonga District, Richard Hara, and other council officials.
Through the Primary Justice Project, the Justice and Peace Desk of the Diocese of Karonga supports the District Social Welfare Office to promote the use of informal justice systems like traditional courts and village tribunals to handle cases (e.g. gender based violence) that are non-criminal in nature.
In Lupembe area, the Justice and Peace Desk works with 20 community based educators (CBEs) to raise awareness on gender based violence and related issues and to support local tribunals.
Speaking during the monitoring visit, Hara said Primary Justice is the easiest and fastest way for people to access justice as it is close to them.
“People do not walk long distances to court and do not wait long for their cases to be judged. Justice come in time and near to the people on GBV issues. As such it creates time for them to concentrate on development activities,” Said the DC.
Monitoring and Evaluation Desk Officer at Karonga Diocese, Deodatus Muriya who also manages the Primary Justice project disclosed that the decline in GBV in the district is due to the existing mutual relationship with the CBEs that help civic educate people on the dangers of the malpractice.
Muriya also said that the project has reduced the number of cases going to formal courts as GBV cases are handled locally leaving the courts with very serious cases.
However, one of the CBEs, Mercy Ndovie said one of the challenges is that most of the village tribunals disregard the case record books for their reference when passing their verdicts.
Funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), through Lilongwe Archdiocese CCJP, the project is expected to run up to December 2018. It aims at promoting peace and order in families and work places.