Tackling Gender-Based Violence and Promoting Gender Equality
In the southeast African country of Malawi, reports show that one out of five girls below the age of 18 has been a victim of gender-based violence. The violence is linked to poverty and lack of economic independence among young women and girls, which subject them to all types of gender-based violence.
EngenderHealth is working to change all that through our women’s economic empowerment intervention. Since its inception in 2018, more than 500 beneficiaries from the four districts of Mzimba, Kasungu, Chiradzulu, and Blantyre have graduated from the program, gaining valuable vocational skills. By helping these vulnerable out-of-school girls and young women learn to become economically self-reliant, this initiative is a crucial part of their journey to empowerment. And it’s giving them the necessary tools to reduce their vulnerability to gender-based violence. Because once girls and women can generate their own income, they find the freedom to determine their own futures. In turn, the risk of abuse is lowered, and women are better positioned to challenge attempted abuse.
One of EngenderHealth’s directors in Malawi speaks to the incredible progress made so far: “All the graduating beneficiaries have shown great interest and capacity in pursuing their vocation skills in order to uplift their socio-economic lives. Apart from the vocation skills, we have also equipped them with basic gender knowledge to promote gender equity and equality among these graduating women and men in their respective communities, which is critical in reducing gender-based violence overall.”
After graduation, beneficiaries are offered start-up capital or materials to initiate and sustain small-scale businesses. The impact is palpable among program graduates like Bertha Namala. She says the skills she has gained will enable her to support her children and family, as well as the community.
“I did not go far with my education and, as such, I did not have skills that would enable me to generate any stable income. With the skills I have acquired through this training, I will be able to start and run my own business and support my family,” shares Bertha.