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COWLHA in Malawi Receives Human Rights Award


cowhla

COWLHA receives ARASA Human Rights Award

COWLHA have been awarded the 2012 AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA) Human Rights, HIV and TB award at a ceremony hosted in Johannesburg, South Africa on Thursday, 15 November 2012.  Michaela Clayton, the director of ARASA, praised how COWLHA has been an agent of change to enhance the protection and promotion of rights of women and girls living with HIV and AIDS.

Annie Banda, the national co-ordinator of COWLHA, spoke about the work that they have been doing:

“Through our work, communities have begun to discuss and challenge cultural norms such as why men think they are superior within marriages, and we have found that culture is the main factor…As a result, communities are realising that some cultures like chokolo (wife inheritance) have to be modified or completely stopped alongside other cultural practices that are fuelling the spread of HIV. Women have started participating in decision-making and men are engaged in household chores, unlike in the past when all the burden of household chores used to be placed on women while men used to go out to drink beer and socialise.”  
  

“Our work has focused on community engagement, working closely with traditional leaders to help communities acquire skills on sexual negotiation, resolving domestic violence as well as community challenges in relation to gender roles or perceptions of masculinity and culture in relation to HIV and AIDS…We have also focused on promoting communication and dialogue among couples and communities to lower levels of concurrent sexual partnerships and address incidents of violence.”

COWLHA recently published a newsletter about how they use Stepping Stones in communities to tackle gender based violence. Click here to read it in full.