Speaking at the opening of a workshop for adolescent girls and young women organized by Family Planning Association of Malawi (FPAM), a representative of the UN women in Malawi Ms Mkwamba said The First Lady’s decision to champion the cause for FPAM as Patron and her support for girls education is evidence enough of true leadership and commitment to empowerment of women.
In her address Madame Mutharika who was guest of honour at the opening of the workshop, said Malawi should move from mere rhetoric in matters of women and empowerment arguing the time for women empowerment is now.
The First Lady bemoaned various challenges that women and adolescent girls continue to face in Malawi which force them to take extreme measures, just for them to survive.
“Young women are forced into unwanted sexual practices that are subsequently leading to an increase in sexually transmitted infections, HIV and unwanted pregnancies. This is not only happening in work places but schools and even homes. I wish to ask you girls not to be afraid. Be strong, you must report any person who demands sex in return for favours,” she appealed.
Madame Mutharika commended FPAM for the tremendous work in stepping up efforts to train young women to lead the fight for access to quality health services and other issues affecting adolescent girls and young women in Malawi through the ENGAGEMENT + EMPOWERMENT = EQUALITY (3Es) project.
She further hailed the 50 young advocates under the project for committing themselves to mentoring adolescent girls both in primary and secondary schools.
Earlier, the First Lady participated in a panel discussion with the Young Advocates where she committed herself to assist them in raising a voice against a number of issues affecting young girls in Malawi.
“I will use every opportunity I have as First Lady to raise the issues and concerns you have brought forward with various relevant ministries, chiefs, international and local organizations. Be assured that the issues of girls are very close to my heart,” she said.
The ENGAGEMENT + EMPOWERMENT = EQUALITY (3Es) project is being implemented by FPAM with financial support from UN Women and International Planned Parenting Federation (IPPF).