Wednesday, May 26, 2010

ADRA Malawi participates in Enditnow Campaign ... End violence against women and girls

Author: Chikondi Madumuse & Krystle Praestiin

Event: EnditNow, Mulumulu Mission Campus, Muapasa, Chiolo District

Violence against women is an issue that if traced, could span the time of history. Due to their vulnerability women and girls have been the main victims of gender based violence. It wears many masks, often silent but always merciless and in some circumstances condoned and taken as part of life.

With this in mind, the Seventh Day Adventist church through its department of Women Ministries and Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) set up a campaign to end this malpractice titled, “EnditNow”. Together with the South Malawi Field Offices and ADRA Malawi, an afternoon campaign was organised on the Malamulo Mission Campus; one of the oldest and biggest sites of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Malawi. The site contains a Hospital, Nursing school, Health Science School, Secondary School, Primary Schools and Publishing house among others.

In Malawi Dorcas women are known for their hospitality and helping the needy, and on this day the Dorcas women took charge. Unified chants accompanied the group of marching women as they descended from a small hill onto the football field, the stage of the campaign. Some women held placards with messages like: “Stop Violence against Children and Women”, “Say No to Violence and Abuse” and “Adventist Women Say No to Violence”. These messages were also reflected in their chants.

Following their march several speakers began dispelling misconceptions about violence against women. They spoke with determination and conviction that Violence against women must end. Pastor Lubani, of Malamulo Mission stated that as followers of Jesus Christ we need to base our arguments against violence towards women on the Bible. He said that “man and woman were created equal and should complement each other.” He quoted from Genesis 2 verse 18 “The Lord said, ‘It is not good for man to be alone, I will make a helper suitable for him,” and stated that this verse has been misinterpreted because the verse does not undermine women but rather puts women at an equal level to man. It also states that women are vital in helping a man to execute his duties properly.

Echoing this message was the representative from the Ministry of Women and Gender. She stated that gender based violence negates the performance of women and girls, socially, economically and even spiritually. And that gender based violence has not spared church goers. Abusers and those abused are still in the church.

To conclude the speeches a representative from ADRA, Andiyesa Mhango, project manger for the Women Empowerment project in Mulanje, illustrated the various initiatives that have been implemented to curb gender based violence and explained that despite these interventions incidences are still high in Malawi. This can be easily seen just by following media outlets like the radio and newspapers. The issue of gender violence is therefore, a very real and very big problem that also affects members of the church. “It’s high time we take a stand to end violence in Malawi,” said Mhango.

The campaign to enditnow was an opportunity for the Seventh-day Adventist Church and ADRA Malawi to publicly take a stand against gender violence and to express God’s compassion and concern for victims of violence. The finale of the campaign was the signing of a petition that will be sent to the United Nations. The petition represents a commitment to ending violence. Those who signed the petition on the day were declaring their commitment to do what they can to end violence and to speak against it.

It is the aim of the Seventh-day Adventist church to obtain at least 1,000,000 signatures on their enditnow petition. It is their way of showing that Adventists have taken a stand to fight one of the greatest evils of our time and to enhance the livelihoods of women and children around the world.

ADRA Malawi has made a commitment to draw people to sign the petition as one way of voicing out its stand against gender violence. In signing the petition we are joining hands with people all around the world, to uphold love and respect amongst every human being regardless of gender.

Show your commitment to stamping out violence against women and girls by signing the enditnow petition. Visit to sign the petition and to join hands with people around the world who are committed to ending gender violence.

However, don’t just stop there do what you can to put your commitment into action- speak to your neighbours about it, be aware of anyone who may be abused and support them or donate to ADRA projects that work to put an end to gender violence.

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