A coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs) has made a case for the establishment of a Ministry of Children to promote the protection, education, and empowerment of children in Malawi.

The CSOs made the case in an alternative report, noting that the absence of a stand-alone Ministry of Children in Malawi is worrying.

Development Diaries understands that the completed report will be presented in 2021 to the African Union (AU) committee of experts on the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC).

Chairperson of NGO-CCR, Desmond Mhango, said that the report encompasses, among other issues, rising cases of defilement and child marriages and pregnancies that have particularly surged during the Covid-19 crisis.

He said, ‘In the report, we are laying bare a number of issues affecting children and are examining why these continue to surge’.

The report highlights the need for the department of child affairs at Capital Hill to decentralise its operations to districts where issues of children really are.

‘In fact, the current assumption that children affairs could be handled through a department in the larger ministry of gender, community development, and social welfare, is an omission which is not conforming to the set fundamental principles of the welfare of the child’, Mhango said.

‘The government needs to establish a fully-fledged Ministry of Children which should most importantly promote the protection, education, empowerment, and participation of children’.

Director of the Department of Child Affairs, McKnight Kalanda, who confirmed that the government was preparing its own state party report to be submitted in 2021, urged the CSOs to come up with credible data for the alternative report.

He said, ‘These report, as an accountability mechanism, must report on the positives and gaps and then make implementable recommendations.

‘So the collection of correct and credible data is very important. This task is easier if the CSOs collaborate among themselves and with my office’.

Source: Nyasa Times

Photo source: USAID in Africa

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