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Adolescents Empowered to End GBV

Youths challenged to end GBV Youths challenged to end GBV - pic by Steve Kalungwe

Adolescents in the country have been urged to be vigilant in the fight against child marriages and gender based violence through among other means the use of art to relay messages of child marriages and gender based violence they face in their communities besides the use of youth advocates.

This has been said on Wednesday in Neno district during an orientation meeting with Youth Advocates on how to sensitise people on the evils of gender based violence and demand accountability from duty bearers.

Evalisto Phiri, Monitoring and Evaluation officer for the Parent and Child Health Initiative (PACHI) told Zodiak Online that if art and youth advocates are fully utilised, GBV cases among the vulnerable groups of people such as children and women will reduce.

"Most children fail to open up on these issues due to fear inflicted by the perpetrators, so art is key as they will just draw their case for example and present it to authorities for action," said Phiri.

He further argues that, upon receiving such art articles, authorities should now take it up and investigate the matter to its logical conclusion.

Concurring with Phiri's sentiments, Neno district hospital GBV coordinator Willy Chisindo says art is a good tool to detect GBV but he warned survivors against the tendency to report cases late at health facilities saying this defeats the purpose of ending GBV.

Chisindo has since appreciated the role youth advocates are playing in identifying gender based violence cases.

In his remarks, Mackson Mtambo, Mzimba PACHI coordinator says Youth Advocates must play a role in reaching education structures with messages of ending sexual gender based violence.

"The advocates must know their rights first and impart knowledge of case reporting to the people they are going to serve so that survivors know where to report and ensure that children are learning in secure environments," he said.

PACHI is also using " Ifenso Platforms" to remind the advocates of their responsibilities in demanding accountability from duty bearers and also school management to adhere to education set standards like WASH facilities.

None the less, Neno district council Youth Officer Ian Sukali says he expects the youths to make a change in reducing child marriages as they are deemed agents of change themselves.

He says " soon we will have youth assistants in all the four Traditional Authorities so that we have a healthy youths who will be able to productively contribute to national development".

PACHI through UNICEF in conjunction with Neno district council is implementing an eight months long project themed " Ending Child Marriages and Harmful Practices through Advocacy".

The project is projected to reach three hundred youths who in turn will reach more than four thousand fellow youths with messages of ending child marriages and gender based violence.

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