Malawi has refused to endorse the agenda for Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) Ministerial Committee on Education, Health and Well-being for adolescents and young people because the agenda includes issues of bisexuality and transgender persons.
The agenda was discussed during a virtual meeting conducted on Monday by Ministers from Southern African Development Community (SADC).
When it was time for Malawi to contribute, Minister of Gender Community Development and Social Welfare Patricia Kaliati said that they are not ready to contribute about the subject because she needed more time to consult.
Kaliati added that the issue is involving the rights of transgender persons which are not recognised in Malawi and also she has to consult the ministers involved, including Ministers of Education, Health and Youth.
On her part, Project Officer for UNESCO Naomi Munthali said that the vision is to support African adolescents and youth people to be continental and global citizens who are educated, healthy, resilient, socially responsible with the capacity to contribute to their communities.
Munthali added that the countries want to ensure that gender equity in access to and participation in quality primary and secondary education, especially for disadvantaged adolescents and young people to prevent new HIV infections, gender inequality, among others.
“We want to improve health services access and support among adolescents. The participation of young people in matters pertaining to their health and development, including in policy and decision making, remains uneven, particularly among adolescents and young people in rural areas,” she explained
Uganda and Malawi are the only countries that asked for more time to consult while others such as Zimbabwe, Mozambique, South Africa, Namibia, South Africa, Lesotho endorsed the agenda.