NGO Coalition on Child Rights (NGO CCR) has reported Malawi government to the United Nations (UN) over lack of adequate funding towards youths programmes.
The youth network wants the UN Committee on Convention on Rights of the Children (CRC) to tell government to ensure that adequate financial resources are provided to the line ministry for it to carry out its mandate effectively.
In the report to the UN, NGO CCR executive Director Louis Kwapata says the state has not adequately responded to the committee’s recommendation of ensuring adequate human and financial resources towards youth programmes.
“While the state is commended for improving on the provision of human resources, the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare which has an overarching mandate over children’s affairs and coordination, continues to get low budgetary support,” Kwapata says.
According to the report, in the 2013/14 financial year the budget allocation for child development declined by 36.7%. Budget allocations for child development have also fluctuated over the past 4 years both at the central and district levels.
“For instance, in the 2011/2012 national budget, the ministry was allocated US$11,038, 962 (MWK1.7 billion) representing 0.6% of the national budget of US$1,972,077,922 (MWK303.7 billion). The allocation to the ministry, however, increased to US$35,971,223 (MWK10 billion) which represented 2.5% of US$1,469,064,748 (MWK408.4 billion) in the 2012/2013 financial year.”
“Worse still, the money that is disbursed to the ministry is even lower than the allocated and approved budget and is also not disbursed on time. With this reduced resource envelope, it has been hard for the ministry to allocate resources for the implementation of specific child related activities,” reads the report.
District Social Welfare Offices at district council level are the ones reportedly affected as they receive as little as US$200 (about MWK146,000) as their monthly budget.
The youth network also says it is yet to see benefits of putting issues of children under the same ministry as issues of disability.
“The merging of the responsible ministry with the Ministry of Disability and the Elderly, has not translated into increased budgetary allocation either and also has compounded the disability issues not to be prominent and properly addressed at district level, notwithstanding the fact that the ministry mostly depends on partners to carry out its mandate such as UNICEF, INGOs and LNGOs at both national and district level,” reads the statement.
The Youth NGO has since asked Malawi government to expedite the process of developing a comprehensive children’s policy.