Implementation of Elimination of Violence Against Women and girls (EVAWG) and the Dissemination of the HIV (Prevention and management) act project in Karonga, Salima and Mulanje commenced in June 2018. The main objective is aimed at eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls through transformation of social and cultural norms that hinder women and girl’s rights and perpetuate VAWG.
Progress on EVAWG
These results were achieved through community sensitisation and mentoring support in the three districts. The project reached out to 93 households with information on EVAWG through intergeneration family dialogue meeting in the communities. These dialogue meetings broke the culture of silence where families ably spoke openly and dispel harmful social norms and traditions such as night dances, “kuyima pa chithandala” and “Kutolelatu chuma”. Furthermore, MANASO pioneered the first training of 55 health workers as key agents in addressing GBV in the three districts on integrating EVAWG into health service, and assisted in managing cases of GBV in order to eliminate violence against women and girls. A dedicated training manual was developed and used to train them. The pre and post-test results were compared and averaged to 65% to 96 % respectively, which showed that the participants gained new knowledge after learning about GBV case management. An evaluation survey done by MANASO revealed that, 100% of the health workers that were trained on integrating GBV into health service acquired new knowledge and forensic know-how-skills on assessing and managing GBV cases. MANASO established 14 mother groups during the project who worked directly with communities and they captured 26 cases of GBV (See list of some of the case studies in Annexe 1). So far, 46 girls in Mulanje, 2 girls in Karonga and 2 girls in Salima under the age of 18 were rescued from early marriages and sent back to school. Four cases of GBV have been reported and were referred for other services. GBV cases have reduced compared to the past through the mother groups. The project managed to train a total of 129 Districts Implementation Team (DIT) on how to advocate for EVAWG and end discrimination during the training of trainers. The team was empowered to speak plainly on the secretive harmful cultural practices that affect women and girls in the community. An example of a cultural norm is where a mother and daughter swap, the mother will allow her daughter to be sleeping with her husband in order for the man not to leave for another wife. (See list of consolidated social cultural norms in Annexe 2 – TOT Report, Table 2). The project sensitized 35 community leaders (chiefs) in the EVAWG. They have established by-laws against VAWG. The chiefs reported that the community is now informed of the girl child right to go to school. This is one of the social norms that have transformed in the community since the onset of the project.
Progress on HIV (Prevention and Management act
The project aimed at enhancing legal literacy in relation to HIV related stigma and discrimination. The project was to sensitize audiences on the HIV (Prevention and Management) Act, build the capacity of stakeholders to disseminate the HIV Law and monitor action plans developed by stakeholders.
Capacity of various stakeholders was developed in disseminating the HIV Act. They include journalists (3O) from 10 media stations. The journalists trained, incorporated some information from the HIV act into their daily programs, district council officers (9) from the 3 districts who also disseminated the information, community leaders (85) from the various districts where the project was being implemented have informed the communities in meetings, funerals and other gatherings. 5 CSO’s have been trained and they eventually trained other CBOs. Action plans have been developed by all the capacitated stakeholders and MANASO continued to monitor the execution of such plans.
Five public education meetings (awareness campaigns, sensitization meetings and community dialogues) were conducted for which 1440 people were sensitized. From these meetings, role-plays, drama, songs and other activities were composed with messages addressing various forms of stigma and discrimination related to HIV/AIDS. After these meetings people were asked and would tell of what the Act says on given forms of stigma and discrimination. Community leaders who attended the meetings also committed to ending HIV related stigma and discrimination. All in all, the capacity of stakeholders to disseminate the Act was built and action plans were developed monitored continually.
The project did not reach some of the targeted audiences (health workers and men in uniform) because guidelines for health workers in relation to the HIV (Prevention and Management) Act had not been disseminated. Along the way MANASO learned that NAC is in the process of developing guidelines for the dissemination of the HIV (Prevention and Management) Act for health worker