Having dropped out from Domasi Secondary school in Zomba while in form three in 2007, Daniel Kasekwe, 32 years old, had no other option but getting married to her long-time girlfriend, Jane. They lived together for five years and had two children in Namahara village in Chiradzulu district. Through hard work and enterprising, Daniel started to get more money. However, instead of supporting his family, it was time to have fun. He hardly recalls the number of friends he would go drinking beer with because they were many. Things started to change in their family because he no longer found it necessary to support his wife and two children. “I used to leave my home early morning together with friends and go drinking: I thought I was having fun and it was all good for me” he narrates.
Having neglected his family for a long period of time, Daniel’s wife was fed up and she proceeded to annul the marriage and went to her home village. He however protested the whole process of separation but Jayne could no longer hold on to this behaviour. “I still wanted my wife but she was in uncompromising mood to hold on to me anymore, I gave in” he explains. He finally accepted and he started to live alone. He felt lonely but he had no courage to go to his wife and ask her to come back because he felt embarrassed because of the situation he had put her before. Besides, there was no way he could do this alone. For one and a half years, he lived a lonely life. He stopped drinking beer. One day as he was walking along the road, he recalls, met his child, who looked malnourished and weak. He felt sorry for himself and decided to do something about the situation. He started to look for ways on how he can have his wife and children back.
Seeking support from Community one stop centre
While thinking ways of how to his wife back, Daniel remembered of a community structure known as one stop centre that helps people that have been exposed to various situation including marriage problems. He went to Mauwa One stop centre that is located in Mauwa village. There he met Peter Mathumba and Alice Malaya who manage the centre every day and explained his situation. His wife and parents were invited to come for a discussion over the matter. Eventually, they both agreed to re start the family.
“I think my wife was still not convinced that I had changed and I believe she reluctantly accepted the decision to come and stay with me again but deep down, I knew I was a different person, ready to take her again” he explains.
Mauwa community one stop centre is one of the many community based structures established under the Gender Equality and Women Empowerment project support by the European Union. Established in 2012, Mauwa community one stop centre serves more than seven group village headmen in Chiradzulu district including people from the nearby district of Zomba. “This facility has changed lives of many people including those that had problems in their families and those sexually abused” explains Peter.
The facility located near a health centre has special rooms for counselling, examination and that of the Police Officer should there be cases that require further investigations and prosecution. Since its establishment, the facility has seen a decline of physical and sexual violence and they now frequently handle more of emotional abuse cases. “We have seen a very significant decline of physical abuse cases since we started” he explains.
Without the UNFPA and EU partnership together with Government of Malawi under the GEWE project, Daniel’s wife and children would still be suffering, having no one to support and their marriage no longer there. Jayne and her two children would be facing daily challenges that some women and children abandoned by their husbands face in areas where these services are not available. Since their reunion, Daniel and Jayne have a third child born on 14th September 2016.
Daniel now teaches at an early childhood development school as a volunteer to assist children from his village prepare for school. Many men and women who experience any form of gender based violence continue to benefit from this one stop centre and other centres established at district hospitals, health centres and at community level across the thirteen districts where GEWE was implemented from 2012 to 2016.