By Noel Chimwala and Leah Malimbasa
Chikwawa, March 29 (Mana): Girls and lactating women at Mandele shelter camp in Chikwawa on Wednesday received dignity kits and kitchen utensils from Norwegian Embassy in partnership with Norwegian Church Aid and Danish Church Aid(NCA/DCA) and Foundation for Civic Education and Social Empowerment(FOCESE).
The kits which are expected to address hygiene issues that the displaced women are facing include sanitary pads, chitenje wrappers, laundry and bathing soap, buckets and body lotion.
Speaking to Malawi News Agency(Mana) after the handover ceremony on Tuesday, Ambassador Ingrid Marie Mikelsen said the embassy decided to intervene because it is a humanitarian concern to global citizens to support people in Malawi with immediate needs when they brutally are hit by effects of climate change.
“Due to climate change, cyclones like these might come each and every year so it is important for everyone in the country including international partners to be prepared and try to build houses in safe places for high resilience in the future,” said Mikelsen.
“The Norwegian government has released $2 million in acute humanitarian aid to be channelled through World Food Program(WFP) and United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) and an additional $6 million has been allocated for strengthening Malawi’s agricultural sector which will help to alleviate situations like these,” she added.
One of the beneficiaries from the camp Sophie Kennedy narrated that the cyclone left her family with nothing as their primary focus was to escape alive, therefore the donation will greatly assist her to maintain hygienic practices although she is staying at a camp.
“Life at the camp is very tough because I lost my school materials, clothes, food and other belongings so I am relieved that this donation will solve some of our problems here but we need additional support in form of food since we are running out of the 29 bags of maize we received, ” said Kennedy.
“I commend the Norwegian Ambassador, NCA/DCA and FOCESE for giving us these items which will help us in maintaining our dignity and also prevent the spread of Cholera,” added Kennedy.
In her remarks FOCESE Executive Director Christie Banda announced that her organisation with support from NCA/DCA is investing K70 million in a joint project on Gender Based Violence (GBV), Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH), and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) actions targeting Cyclone Freddy displacement camps and Cholera response in Chikwawa from March to May 2023.
“We are targeting over 3,000 women and girls from four camps in Chikwawa and we are implementing the project in collaboration with Churches Action Relief and Development, (CARD) and (NCA/DCA).
“Currently we are working with camp leaders to disseminate messages to deal with GBV and SRH issues, district hospitals to provide SRH services to the women and girls in the camps, and traditional leaders who are custodians of norms and traditions to make sure women and girls are protected from sexual harassment in the camps.