Primary school learners in Dowa district have taken on board to fight Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV) through awareness campaigns, to help increase knowledge on GBV and enlighten peers on the right channels to be followed when they are victimized.
Caught up with learners from Simbi primary school, Madisi zone in Traditional Authority Chakhaza in Dowa district, they explained that most adolescents are the victims of GBV, however they don’t report because they either don’t know that they are being victimized in other circumstances they don’t know where to report the cases.
Speaking with the Ifenso platform executive committee for the school, chairperson for the group Chimwemwe Banda and a standard 6 learner, has been encouraging her colleagues to report any form of violence be it at school or communities. .
“We need to join hands in fighting gender based violenceso that we save other innocent souls facing such challenges. Most adolescents especially girls are no longer in school because the world treated them badly but had nowhere to report. We should break this culture of silence whenever we face abuse,” Chimwemwe said.
Chimwemwe mentioned among others that; rape, defilement, any kind of sexual harassment, forced child marriages, early pregnancies are some of the examples of abuse adolescents are facing, as such she encouraged the team to always report these cases to their teachers, parents, friends and even the police.
Vickness Zeppa, is the School Health and Nutrition teacher (SHN) at this school taut the project PACHI is implementing saying it will really help to save pupils from SGBV.
“This campaign will help to protect our learners especially the adolescent girls and all adolescents at large from pejorative treatment they face in their daily lives. The project has come at right time when GBV cases are at its pick, it is our hope that this will help to curb the situation,” said Zeppa.
Zeppa finally urged all adolescents from all corners to take advantage of the project on the other hand, warned all perpetrators that they will be taken to book once found.
PACHI with support from UNICEF is implementing an SBC spotlight initiative project in Dowa district aiming at creating space for engaging adolescents, provide awareness to increase the fight against GBV. These are adolescent social accountability structures which are called Ifenso platform, with built capacities to help learners, parents/guardians and their communities to have an open mind in discussing issues affecting adolescent’s education including GBV; which will create a protective community for girls. In Dowa, Ifenso platforms have been linked to existing support groups and GBV/SGBV actors in communities / schools.