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Lilongwe, Malawi­­­­ - The United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA) through the Spotlight Initiative has handed over 120 motorcycles worth US$224,400 (approx. MK232,478,400.00) to the Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare to improve mobility and access to gender based violence (GBV) services by frontline workers.

Fifty-two motorcycles have been allocated to the Malawi Police Service (MPS).  The official handover of the MPS allocation was done on 31 September at the MPS Headquarters in Lilongwe. The motorcycles procured with funding from the European Union (EU) will be distributed to Police post in the six districts the Spotlight Initiative is being implemented.

Officer in Charge for UNFPA Malawi, Ms. Miranda Tabifor said procurement of motorbikes and bicycles will go a long way to facilitate access to services by women and girls living in hard to reach areas. 

UNFPA Malawi OIC, Ms. Miranda Tabifor officially handed over the motorbikes to the Inspector General of Malawi Police Services, Ms. Meryln Yotamu ©UNFPA/Joseph Scott

“The motor bikes will increase the capacity of the police to reach out and respond to the many cases of gender based violence that are occurring in their respective constituencies,” Ms. Tabifor explained, adding, “It’s our sincere belief that with this donation, the Malawi Police Service will strengthen its collaboration with the Ministry on gender based violence prevention, management and quick response when violence occurs.”

In Malawi, women and girls face higher risk of domestic violence, as well as other forms of gender-based violence including sexual exploitation and abuse. Current statistics show that 34 percent of the women aged 15-49 experienced physical violence since age 15 and 21 percent of them experienced sexual violence in their lifetime. Of the women who experienced sexual violence in their lifetime, 4 percent had experienced this form of violence before the age of 18.

In the context of its 8th Programme Cooperation, UNFPA supports the Government of Malawi to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and to strengthen sexual gender based violence response and prevention through different programme interventions including the Spotlight Initiative.

Minister of Gender, Child and Community Development, Hon. Patricia Kaliati said the Spotlight Initiative is one of the flagship programmes that is helping make a difference in the lives of women and girls in Malawi. She added that the motor bikes will help the programme improve response, delivery of sexual reproductive health and rights, justice and psychological support services especially for women and girls in remote areas.

The motorbikes will be distributed to police stations in the six Spotlight Initiative implementing districts ©UNFPA/Joseph Scott

In her remarks, Inspector General of the Malawi Police Service, Ms. Meryln Yotamu expressed her gratitude saying apart from the motorbikes, her institution has greatly benefited from UNFPA, under the Spotlight Initiative, in a number of areas such as capacity building programs, provision working resources, Ending Violence Against Women and Girls awareness programs.

“Mobility is one of the greatest challenges that the MPS is facing to effectively respond to the policing needs,” she said. “The motorcycles will enhance the capacity for the Victim Support Services to be able to conduct activities and respond to cases timely and efficiently.”

European Union Ambassador to Malawi, His Excellency Runne Skinnebach called on the MPS to put the motorcycles to good use ©UNFPA/Joseph Scott

European Union Ambassador to Malawi, His Excellency Runne Skinnebach called on the MPS to put the motorcycles to good use and continue their vigilance and passion in the execution of their duties.

“I hope this passion will continue so that we can protect more women and girls from gender based violence,” he said.

By Joseph Scott, Communications Analyst