Centre for Alternatives for Victimized Women and Children (CAVWOC) is a social service organization formed in 1997 by Mrs. Stella Twea and formally registered under the Trustees Incorporation Act of Malawi in 1998. After spending many years as a secondary school teacher in the Southern Region of Malawi, Mrs. Twea was witness to many detrimental patterns of behaviour and violence that stole the confidence, dreams and even the lives of women and girls that she engaged with in her day to day life. What disturbed her the most is that those acts were, and in existing cases around Malawi and the world, are still deemed ‘normal’. As a mother of three daughters, Mrs Twea was inspired to change the lens in which her immediate community viewed young girls- women, their rights, and their potential. She began educating in and outside of the classroom using CAVWOC as the vehicle for engaging communities to take part in safe guarding their daughters, sisters and mothers. Their team establishes in community support groups, information centres and safe spaces to address abuse issues, supporting the local government authorities to tackle various gender based violations against women and girls.
CAVWOC has since been operating in areas with high prevalence of harmful cultural practices, which are often the breeding grounds for abuse perpetrators in Malawi. In the last 20 years, CAVWOC’s work has spread across Malawi, reaching 13 Traditional Authorities in 7 districts- including Balaka, Lilongwe and Mulanje; where the rule of law is largely enforced through the interventions of both these authorities. Establishing collaborative partnerships with local government authorities and Traditional Authorities has resultantly embedded CAVWOC into communities and significantly contributed to their success.
As one of the longest serving organizations within the Gender Based Violence prevention sector in Malawi- CAVWOC have both designed and implemented various programs enabling the often voiceless women and children they work with to understand their rights through access to CAVWOC’s Support and Learning groups- for both men and women. These groups provide beneficiaries with information to clarify their human rights, to educate on the spectrum of abuse and pivotally, they provide information on where to report violations and be received and supported without prejudice.
CAVWOC also offers services to help victims to rebuild their lives and improve their livelihoods through access to life skills training- including, courses on income generating activities and subsistence farming. One of the complimentary services CAVWOC also takes great pride in availing is their school reintegration and scholarship program that helps survivors to complete their education with support from locally accessible community structures.
As a part of the Social Impact Incubator, “CAVWOC has had the opportunity to grow our network of peers as well as to strengthen our internal organisational systems”, Executive Director- Kelton Bolokonye. The 2018 Social Impact Incubator graduate organisation is now facing the new year head on with exciting plans to give more women the courage they require to stand up to their abusers through an increase in nationwide access to CAVWOC services.
CAVWOC is calling all Women’s rights activists! They are seeking both those with experience as well as those looking for experience to join their organisation and lift the voices of survivors together by actively promoting CAVWOC’s work in Malawi through various platforms. CAVWOC’s search for Women’s Rights Ambassadors is now on! To learn more about how to get involved, become a CAVWOC Women’s Rights Ambassador, or how to support their transformative work; please contact CAVWOC via their Facebook page: Centre for Alternatives for Victimized Women and Children. To keep up to date on CAVWOC news, find them on Instagram: @cavwocmalawi; or sign up for their newsletter through their Website: www.cavwoc.org.