|Men playing Bawo during the launch of YONECO Bawo League|
Bawo is a favourite traditional pastime among men in Malawi and some parts of the African continent. Bawo is in the group of ancient ‘count and capture’ board games. The game is popular in both rural and urban areas where men form a circle around the board which only allows two challengers at a time. Passing by a Bawo Game; what welcomes a person is the sound of laughter and shouts from the players and other men who sit or stand to watch the game as they also wait for their turn.
Bawo Game presents an opportune time whereby most men find it easy to have man-to-man discussions and crack jokes with their peers. Thus, YONECO has thought it necessary to use Bawo Game as a way of engaging men in the fight against Gender Based Violence (GBV), Violence against Children (VAC) as well as preventing the spread of HIV and mitigating its impact. YONECO is in a drive to make sure that in their discussions, the men should also talk about GBV, HIV, VAC and other social challenges as a way of influencing positive behaviours among men.
|Key Note address by Prof. Maluwa Banda during the launch|
20 August, 2016 marked the launch of K 400,000 YONECO Bawo League which will be played in Zomba and Machinga districts.
In his keynote address, the Board Chairperson for YONECO, Professor Dixie Maluwa Banda, stated that it is YONECO’s strategy to actively involve men in the fight against GBV, VAC and HIV.
“As an institution, YONECO realised that men are usually left out in the interventions that are aimed at fighting against HIV and ending violence which is usually perpetrated by them. Thus, we saw it wise to innovatively and continuously incorporate men in our programming”, said Professor Maluwa.
Talking to the press; the Executive Director for YONECO, MacBain Mkandawire, stated that the organisation will also train some of the men as Peer Educators so that they should, at a particular point in time, facilitate the discussions. He stated that YONECO is very optimistic that the Malawi society will benefit a lot from the Bawo League as men will eventually start looking at issues of gender inequality, child rights and HIV from a different angle.
|YONECO ED making a speech during the launch of the league|
“Having men to discuss and engage each other on various developmental issues is very cost effective and it is a pathway to the creation of an HIV and violence free society”, said Mkandawire.
Mac Bain Mkandawire further added that the Bawo League will also be used as a tool that will inform YONECO’s programming. On this aspect, the Executive Director for YONECO stated that there is a fundamental challenge in social behaviour programming whereby organisations think that they know everything while they do not. This, he said, is the reason why there is a need to cast the net wider and engage communities through various innovative approaches in order to solicit and unpack the information so as to design effective and efficient interventions.
The Chairperson for Zomba Bawo Association, Hasheem Banda, thanked YONECO for the support and he stated that it will help men to understand what constitutes GBV, its dangers and how it can be prevented. He further stated that the intervention will help the men to spend their time wisely as they will benefit a lot from the discussions and eventually prevent HIV as well.
The launch was held at YONECO Head Offices in Zomba district.