From where I stand: ‘Voice the Violence’ program still providing services during COVID-19

Mphatso Baluwa Jim is the national coordinator of Malawi Girl Guides Association (MAGGA), a voluntary non-Governmental organisation. UN Women is supporting MAGGA to implement the “Voice the Violence” program which focuses on empowering and protecting women and girls from violence. She explains how COVID-19 has affected how her organization is reaching women and girls to ensure no one is left behind.

Date: Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Mphatso Baluwa Jim
Mphatso Baluwa Jim, National Coordinator of Malawi Girl Guides Association (MAGGA). Photo: UN Women

How is COVID-19 affecting your organization?

 

COVID-19 has completely changed the way MAGGA operates. MAGGA is doing less activities in the districts because of delays of the districts in granting MAGGA clearance in implementing activities due to movement restrictions.  We recognise that life is harder for many women and girls now. Girls are not going to school, many women and girls face risks associated with being caregivers, economic hardship and the risk of sexual violence is greater. Through the Voice of Violence project, we form girls club as safe spaces. Since the COVID-19 restrictions were imposed, we can no longer meet the girls in their girl guide clubs. Most of these girls live in rural areas. The depressing thing is that these girls do not have access to information on preventing Gender Based Violence.

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Under the COVID situation, is your organization still able to deliver services?

 

Since COVID-19 begun in Malawi, MAGGA is delivering services to a lesser extent. We have no choice but to re-program and adapt activities to integrate COVID19 in gender based violence (GBV). We have included activities like sewing of face mask and distributing them and reusable sanitary pads to homes. Our matrons also visit the homes of the girls in the girl guide club’s, through a door to door initiative. We also support the matrons by providing them with airtime to follow up on the girls through their parents as well as providing the matrons with personal protective equipment. 

 

Has your organization changed the way you reach out to communities/women, by using more technology-based platforms

 

MAGGA has now gone digital so we can continue working, although it has its own disadvantages. 'The Voice of Violence' online media campaign on GBV is raising awareness on preventing COVID-19 and its impact on girls and women. I feel sad that we can not reach many girls who do not have access to internet or radio, but our door to door campaign has helped to offset this problem.