Spotlight Initiative at Two Years: Govt commends EU-UN partnership for impact registered on women and girls
Women’s assemblies were set up in all six Spotlight Initiative districts to coordinate and propel collective grassroots action towards gender equality.
Minister of Gender, Development and Social Welfare Dr. Patricia Kaliati has commended the EU-UN partnership through the Spotlight Initiative for complementing government’s efforts in eliminating violence against women and girls in Malawi. Honourable Kaliati made the remarks during a Spotlight side event at the Africa Gender Equality Conference at the Bingu International Conference Centre in Lilongwe.
“The fight against violence against women and girls is not for government alone, it is for everyone. As government, we are excited to see how the Spotlight Initiative has made changes in the lives of women and girls for the past years.” said Minister Kaliati.
Minister Kaliati further said the support by the EU-UN partnership to women and girls in Malawi indicates the commitment that development partners have aimed at protecting empowering and developing women and girls.
The UN Resident Coordinator to Malawi, Maria Jose Torres Macho, said the successes that the Initiative has registered over the past two years would not have been possible without the unwavering leadership of the Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.
“I am happy to tell you that, with your ministry’s leadership, nearly a quarter of a million boys and girls were taught to identify and denounce Sexual and Gender Violence and harmful Practices, and as a result- nearly 3,000 cases of child marriage were reported to the authorities,” explained the UN Resident Coordinator.
Ms Torres Macho added that in the past two years, women’s assemblies were set up in all Spotlight Initiative six implementing districts to coordinate and propel collective grassroots action towards gender equality.
The UN Resident Coordinator further said it is heart-warming to note that development partners, traditional leaders, Civil Society, the media, academia, the private sector have also made important contributions towards eliminating violence against women and girls.
In her remarks, the EU Charge D’affaires Aurelie Valtat said the European Union will continue to support efforts to empower women and girls in Malawi, adding that doing so translates to development.
“Women and girls are critical in development; it is essential that governments and development partners must design programmes that go a long way in empowering them. The European Union commends the Government of Malawi for its technical support in ensuring that the Spotlight Initiative is designed to empower women and girls,” said Valtat.
The Spotlight at 2 years event took place on the side-lines of the African Gender Equality Conference aimed at celebrating the achievements of the Spotlight Initiative so far. The 2021 conference is aligned to the IWD theme Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.
During the event, a high-level panel comprising the Minister of Gender Honorable Patricia Kaliati, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Honourable Halima Daud; Inkosi ya Makhosi M’mbelwa V, the CEO of the COMESA Federation of Women in Business and the Deputy Inspector General of the Malawi Police Service alongside the EU and the UN brainstormed on collective approaches to ending violence against women and girls in Malawi.