Spotlight Initiative orients district commissioners

In Malawi, the Spotlight Initiative is being implemented in Mzimba, Nkhata Bay, Ntchisi, Dowa, Machinga and Nsanje.

The Spotlight Initiative recently conducted an orientation meeting for District Commissioners from the six implementing districts of Malawi. Speaking when she graced the occasion, the Director of Gender Affairs in the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Mercy Safalao said the success of the Initiative lies in strong coordination between the UN, Government, CSOs and community actors.

The Spotlight Initiative is a new global programme focused on eliminating violence against women and girls, including sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and harmful practices. In Malawi, the partnership involves the Government of Malawi, United Nations, European Union (EU), civil society organizations and local communities. EU is funding the programme.

Said Safalao: “The DCs are key to success of the Initiative. The President of Malawi Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika was invited to address the global event on the Spotlight Initiative alongside the UNGA in New York. Thus, we need to commit ourselves to ensure that the Initiative works.”

She said the high-level commitment shown to the Spotlight Initiative should be reason enough for all stakeholders to keep the momentum.

Safalao appealed for stronger collaboration between the Spotlight Initiative District Coordinators, and all government structures at the district level.

“We all need to work together if we are to register remarkable milestones in our quest to eliminate violence against women and girls. We cannot afford to work in silos,” said Safalao.

UN Women Representative, Clara Anyangwe, said the UN was committed to continue supporting the Government of Malawi and other stakeholders to ensure a strong culture of breaking the silence around sexual gender based violence at all levels of society, ensure that the potential of every woman, girl and child is fully realised, and that no one is left behind.

Anyangwe said it was encouraging to note that the districts were already involved in the Spotlight Initiative through the orientations of the District Executive Committees and Full District Councils, which were held earlier in the year.

She also acknowledged the support the Spotlight Initiative got from Mzimba and Ntchisi districts to implement quick win activities.

“Congratulations to the DCs and their teams for the successful results that have been registered in the quick win interventions, for instance, improved infrastructure for delivery of protection services,” said Anyangwe.

Anyangwe said the need for strengthened collaboration in the implementation of Spotlight activities is crucial.

“This is not only a women’s issue; it affects all of us. If the dignity and well-being of half of humanity is at risk, peace, security and sustainable development will remain out of reach. I want to urge us all to continue being united and to deliver results through an inclusive process, involving all stakeholders at all stages, from planning sessions to implementation, monitoring and reporting of results,” she said.

Speaking on behalf of the District Commissioners, DC for Nkhatabay Rodney Simwaka thanked the UN for organising the meeting with local government authorities. Simwaka said the DCs will support the Initiative throughout the implementation period and are looking forward to making lasting changes in the lives of women and girls as far as SGBV is concerned.

In Malawi, the Spotlight Initiative is being implemented in Mzimba, Nkhatabay, Ntchisi, Dowa, Machinga and Nsanje.

Written by
Nomsa Taulo
Communications Officer - Spotlight Initiative
Nomsa 3
UN entities involved in this initiative
UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Population Fund
United Nations Children’s Fund