Capital Radio Malawi
17 July, 2024

Social Welfare Officer for Kasungu District Council, Ephraim Njikho, has said stigmatisation against women and girls with disabilities is not only a violation of human rights but also a serious impediment to achieving national development.

Njikho said this in Kasungu on Saturday during an anti-stigma awareness meeting organised by Nkhotakota based Umunthu Radio under its Quality Menstrual Health for Women and Girls with Disabilities project being implemented in the district.

“Every person has equal entitlements under the law regardless of being a person with disability or not. So like anybody else, girls and women with disabilities have great potential to contribute to national development hence must be treated without any elements that point to discrimination.

“It is in this spirit that we applaud Umunthu Radio for this initiative where they are trying to raise awareness on the rights of women and girls, specifically those with disabilities,” Njikho said.

He said while his office appreciates the remarkable contribution the project has made in raising awareness of women and girls with disabilities, there is need to extend the initiative to the entire district so that it benefits more people.

Representing Malawi Council for Disability Affairs (MACODA), Maness Matsimbe William, said there is need for intensified efforts to fight stigmatisation against women and girls with disabilities, a practice she said is common in communities.

“We hope that with the interventions under this project, we will see women and girls with disabilities being treated with the dignity they deserve as many people will understand that stigmatisation is evil.

“It is our belief that as communities are made aware of the rights of persons with disabilities, particularly women and girls, they will be able to treat and support them in the right manner,” she said.

General Manager for Umunthu Radio, Edward Kwacha, said his organisation is aware of different forms of stigma and discrimination that women and girls with disabilities face hence the intervention.

“This meeting was very crucial as we reflected on our project that seeks to eliminate various forms of stigma and discrimination against women and girls with disabilities, particularly menstrual health.

“It has enlightened stakeholders as to what is happening in the communities, calling for continuous interventions like awareness and popularising policies and laws to plug the information gaps that are there regarding the rights of persons with disabilities,” he said.

Kuwacha said if women and girls with disabilities are knowledgeable about their rights, they will be able to demand services and seek redress where violations have occurred.

“For example, we are aware that most women and girls with disabilities face challenges to access sexual reproductive health services and that is exactly why we decided to come up with this project,” he said.

The project is being implemented in traditional authorities Kaomba, Chilowamatambe, Lukwa, and Mwase in Kasungu District with an aim of enhancing capacity and knowledge in women and girls with disabilities to access quality menstrual health.

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