Malawian national and regional leaders and thousands of community members participated in a 15-day campaign to end gender-based violence this month.
The campaign is part of the Seventh-day Adventist Church's global anti-violence campaign, EndItNow, coordinated by the Women's Ministries Department and the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA).
The campaign's closing ceremony reached 20-plus villages in the Mulanje District of Southern Malawi and included awareness-raising poems, songs, dances and dramatic presentations.
"The campaign has helped to sensitize people to understand their rights," said ADRA's Women's Empowerment Project (WEP) Manager Andiyesa Mhango. "There are laws in place to protect those rights, and [a] need to report any abuses of those rights to the relevant authorities."
The WEP has been active in Mulanje since April 2007, working to empower women, promote health and basic rights, and help establish personal means of income.
Representatives from the Malawian Ministry of Gender, Child Welfare and Community Services, the National Initiative for Civic Education, and the Mulanje District Police attended the closing ceremonies.
Gideon Mothisa, guest of honor and district labor officer for the Mulanje District, thanked ADRA for its leadership in the campaign, urging fellow representatives to make a stand against violence.
Participants also took part in a mile-long march, carrying banners and signs promoting human rights and the elimination of violence against women.
ADRA Programs Director Michael Usi commended the representatives and community members for their efforts to curb gender-based violence, promising that ADRA would continue to work with local organizations and communities in order to reduce violence in the surrounding areas.
EndItNow was launched in October 2009, and is currently collecting 1 million signatures from supporters in 200 countries and territories, which will be presented to the United Nations.
Become a supporter of the EndItNow cause here.