By Chimwemwe Mphande – Mana.
Spotlight Initiative Wednesday distributed 255 bicycles in Machinga district to enhance management of Gender Based Violence (GVB) services in order to ease mobility of community support services.
The handing over of the bicycles to community structures took place at Traditional Authority (TA) Nkula headquarters in Machinga.
Speaking during the event, District Gender and Development Officer for Machinga District Council, Rita Sukasuka said the Initiative’s distribution of the bicycles was timely as there was a high risk of sexual GBV due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We encourage all the community support services to use the bicycles for the intended purpose so that all the cases ongender-based violence should be tracked down and properly handled in the district,” she said.
According to the Spotlight Initiative, the committees given the bicycles play a critical role in communities such as tracking child marriages, assisting victims of sexual GBV and offer maternal and child health services through provision of mobile family planning services and assisting women and girls affected by fistula.
Chairperson of the Community Victim Support Unit for Chaphuka Village, Asiya Salanje thanked Spotlight Initiative for bailing them out on their transportation problems.
“These bicycles will support referral and follow up of GBV cases in our community, this is the first of its kind, we are all excited for the gesture,” she stated.
Some of the community structures that have benefited from this donation include; Community Victim Support Unit (CVSU), Community Policing Forum, Women Forum, Disability Network, Youth Network, Case Workers, Safe Space Mentors, Child Protection Committees amongst other relevant structures.
The Spotlight Initiative is a European Union and United Nations Partnership aimed at eliminating violence against women and girls.
It is being implemented in six districts of Nsanje, Machinga, Ntchisi, Dowa, Mzimba and Nkhata-Bay.
In Machinga, the Programme is being implemented in nine Traditional Authorities (TAs) of Chamba, Nkula, Sitola, Mlomba, Nsanama, Kawinga, Nyambi, Nkoola and Ngokwe.