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16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence in Malawi

Gender, News/feature, Malawi, 2015
15 Davy of activism against Gender Based Violence in Malawi

HeforShe Photo Exhibition to mark the 16 days of activism against gender based violence 2015

Gender-based violence is a widespread but silent epidemic in Malawi today: an estimated 1 in 5 girls have experienced sexual violence. Most violence occurs in the home, is viewed as a private family affair and is seldom reported. 1 in 3 girls who have sex under the age of 18 are forced or coerced and almost half of all girls in experience physical abuse. Malawi also has one of the highest rates of child marriages in the world. In 2010, 50 % of women aged 20-24 were married or were in a union before they were 18.

Since the opening of the Irish Embassy in Malawi in 2007, Irish Aid has been working to address this situation with a variety of partner organisations at national and local levels in Malawi, including government institutions, UN agencies, international research institutions and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

Exhibition tells the story of 16 men who stood up to gender inequality and violence against women in their villages

Following the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, a campaign is taking place around the world for “16 Days” of activism against gender-based violence. In Malawi, Irish Aid and the Irish Embassy have teamed up with the Irish Consortium on Gender Based Violence and Irish NGOs in Malawi such as Concern Worldwide, Goal, Trócaire, Self Help Africa and Action Aid to to host an art and photo exhibition highlighting the importance of this campaign.

The 16 Days exhibition recognises the need for positive male role models who are prepared to make a difference in their communities in terms of gender equality. Through a series of photos and videos, the exhibition tells the story of 16 men in Malawi who stood up and took action against gender inequality and violence against women in their villages. All of these stories represent courage, perseverance and determination to make a change in a world where women are unable to enjoy their rights, simply because they are women.

Speaking at the launch of the 16 Days exhibition, which was attended by two of the men who feature in the exhibition, Ambassador of Ireland to Malawi Áine Hearns underlined the urgent need to raise awareness of the reality of gender-based violence around the world and mobilise action to bring an end to this violence. The President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, also sent a special message to the event, where he reflected on his 2014 visit to Malawi and highlighted the eradication of gender-based violence as “a great ethical challenge of our age”. President Higgins also recalled that we all must continue to ask ourselves how we can play our own role in the elimination of the great global injustice of gender-based violence.


Read more about the work of Irish Aid in Malawi, and view the photographs and video from the 16 Days against gender based violence exhibition.