Tue, 26 Jan 2021

LUSAKA, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- The world is yet again commemorating 16 days of activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV), a period essentially aimed at raising awareness around violence against women.

The campaign, which runs from Nov. 25 to Dec. 10, seeks to challenge the perpetrators of violence to change their behavior and involve men in helping eradicate violence against women and girls.

Organizations working to end violence against women and girls in Zambia have been engaging men and boys in their programs that are bearing desirable results.

"The response has been great. There is a huge change in behavior among men and boys in our target communities. They are being transformed into good men that are encouraging others to protect women and girls from acts of violence and reporting such to relevant offices," said Nelson Banda, executive director for Zambia National Men's Network For Gender and Development.

Banda further explained that the boys' network members have been trained in all aspects of gender including Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for women and girls, how to respond to GBV, early marriages, and women's rights, in general. They have conducted outreach activities in schools in rural areas of Lusaka and communities.

Young Men's Christian Association of Zambia (Zambia YMCA), which has long been engaging boys and men under its transformative program, said male involvement is key to ending violence against women.

"In order for efforts aimed at ending violence and discrimination against women and girls to bear desired fruit, men and boys ought to be seen as being central to the solution," Said Easter Zulu, Zambia YMCA Acting Executive Director.

Zulu added that there has been increased awareness and understanding about the root causes of GBV, particularly among the urban populations in Zambia YMCA's catchment areas because of the involvement of men and boys in programs on ending violence against women.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, 243 million women and girls globally were abused by their intimate partners in the past year. Since the pandemic, with lockdowns measures, countries around the world have seen an alarming rise in violence against women, especially domestic violence, according to a recent report by UN Women.

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