Machinga children voice out issues affecting them


A call has gone out to authorities in the country to find lasting solution to child abuse, alarming school dropout rates and environmental degradation which they say are badly affecting them.

The call was made on Friday 28th July, 2023 during the official closing ceremony of Machinga district Children’s parliament which was held under the theme; ‘Childrens’ Voice Matter’.

In an interview after the parliament session which attracted authorities from both private and public institutions, 16-year-old Linda Namuse from Machinga Likwenu constituency said it is imperative to address issues affecting lives of children.

While thanking the organisers of the children’s parliament session, World Vision Malawi, for giving them a platform to voice out their concerns, Linda expressed worry about the increasing cases of child abuse, school dropout and environmental degradation.

Linda: issues affecting children should be addressed

The young lawmaker suggested that child rights and protection laws should aggressively be enforced which she said will help in reducing such issues affecting children’s livelihood.

“Some of the resolutions made during the parliament session today included the need to address child abuse and school dropout which are now alarming. Access to water in schools is another challenge which we want authorities to look into as well, because it has facilitated school dropout in some cases.

“We want to be allowed to voice out issues affecting us, we should be given proper platforms to express ourselves. We also suggest that parents should be sensitised on how they need to treat us,” said Linda.

Among others, the children’s parliament asked government authorities to expedite the process of child rights publication and also to consider constructing rehabilitation structure which can be used children who have experienced any abuse.

Deputy minister of local government, unity and culture, Owen Chomanika who was the guest of honour said his ministry will engage responsible ministries like the ministry of gender to ensure that some of resolutions should be addressed to promote children’s welfare.

Chomanika said the Chakwera led government is leaving no stone unturned to making sure that challenges affecting Malawian children are addressed.

“Considering that the demographics are showing that children are a big number of this country, its a commitment of government to make sure that all policies and implementation and programming are pointing towards protection of children and also making them to participate to make their voice matter.

“This is why the ministry of gender and other ministries are working tirelessly to make sure that everything concerning children is looked into. Its a great commitment of government to make sure that we are mindful of what children need and how we can make them grow into respectable and hardworking citizens as we move towards 2063,” said Chomanika.

He then asked the children to be patriotic, hardworking, law abiding and full of integrity saying such qualities can help to make Malawi better and he further asked parents and traditional leaders to give space to children in their areas to discuss issues affecting them.

The deputy minister then suggested that Children’s parliament should be done in the mother language, Chichewa saying he is of the view that doing so will enhance total participation from children where their real experiences could be well expressed.

World vision Malawi zonal associate director responsible for the southern region, Takondwa Mwale, said the children’s parliament was organised to give children a chance to voice out their concerns.

While calling for concerted efforts in addressing issues raised during the children’s parliament, Mwale said children have a good number of years to live and that they need to be prepared and included in the process of development so that their voices matter.

“The issues raised in the parliament are multi-sectoral, can not be done by one individual. There is need for children themselves to be responsible, families should take actions, the district and local leaders should also do something and even government at national level should also be responsible,” said Mwale.

After the event, the young lawmakers were presented with Certificates of Attendance.