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Construction of Girls’ Hostels at Mpemba and Chilwa Reformatory Centres

Construction of Girls’ Hostels at Mpemba and Chilwa Reformatory Centres

Mpemba Boys Home and Chilwa Approved School were established as national reformatory centres for young male offenders from the age of 7 to 14 years and 15 to 18 years old respectively. Officially, children below 18 years are not supposed to be put in prisons, but depending on the gravity of the Crimean inadequate space at reformatory centres, some juveniles are admitted into prisons.

Among others, these reformatory centres provide rehabilitation services in forms of primary and secondary education, vocational skills training, counselling services, economic activities, spiritual and social services.  The vocational skills include carpentry, bricklaying, tinsmith, tailoring, painting, leatherwork, animal and poultry farming. Juveniles that have fully been rehabilitated are discharged and are given tools of the trade that they acquired during institutionalisation.  Probation and social welfare officers supervise discharged juveniles to make sure they are properly resettled and re-integrated in their community.

Currently, Malawi does not have a Reformatory Centre for girls, but like boys the girl child faces social and moral danger due to family problems, mental strains, social ostracism, exploitation which may lead to delinquency hence the need for rehabilitation. Currently, juvenile girls are only given alternative orders other than reformation services. For example they are given bound overs; they pay compensation, or they are sent back to their communities for community services and /or kept in prisons with adults which is not convenient for their development taking into account their tender ages.

This clearly shows that there is a huge discrepancy in terms of reformatory services and infrastructure available to girls and boys. It is therefore the desire of theMinistry of Gender, Children and Community Development to address such disparities by building hostels for girls at the aforesaid reformatory centres for them to also have access to appropriate reformation services.   

Through this project the ministry intends to construct one girls’ hostel each at Mpemba and Chilwa Reformatory Centres. This will help to accomplish one of the major objectives of the ministry which is to ensure that women/girls are provided with all the opportunities to fully participate in the development of this country. Further more the project is relevant to the fulfilment of MGDS II Theme 2 Sub-Theme 4 where children (including girls) are deemed to be the future of the nation. However, it is a fact that just likes boys, girls might find themselves in conflict with the law. To ensure that their future is secured, society should not give up on such girls but rather provide them with services that will bring them back into the mainstream where they will get another chance to meaningfully contribute to their own development and that of the nation. One of the strategies to achieve this is to improve equitable access to quality child development service i.e. through the reformatory services.  

A juvenile offender who has gone through reformation services adjusts well to social life and is better placed to be involved in economic ventures and social activities. Placing a girl juvenile therefore in this environment that provides discipline, structure, education and training, as well as programmes aimed at tackling anti-social behaviours and reducing offenses will give the girl child a chance to break away from criminal life and regain control of her future.

a. Overall Goal/Impact:
Girl juvenile offenders reformed and re-integrated into their communities and able take control of their lives and contribute to the development of the country.

b. Project Purpose / Outcome
To provide character reform of girl juvenile offenders through counselling, acquisition of vocational skills, education, social and recreational activities with the view of making them useful, self reliant and responsible citizens of Malawi.

c. Objectives / Results

  1. To protect the rights of girl juvenile offenders.
  2. To keep the girl juvenile offenders out of adult prison
  3. To reduce risk of girl juvenile offenders turning into hardcore criminals
  4. To equip the girl juvenile offender with livelihood skills
  5. To reduce congestion in prisons

d. Output

  1. 2 girls hostels constructed: 1 at Mpemba and 1 at Chilwa.

e. Activities

  1. Identification and selection of construction site.
  2. Engaging the Consultants for the design and Construction supervision of the hostels
  3. Procurement of a construction contractor
  4. Construction of the 2 hostels
  5. Supervision and monitoring

The project is targeting 60 girls (30 in each centre) who will reside in the hostels and have access to the reformation services.

a. Impact on other Government projects and activities:
Constituting 52% of the population women including girls offer a vast human resource potential for increasing the country’s productive capacity and contributing to sustained economic growth and development. The empowerment of a girl child (who is in conflict with the law) through reformation will therefore ensure that they are of socio-economic and political value to the nation for real sustainable development and consequently poverty reduction. This will contribute towards achieving the goals of the country’s development agenda as outlined in the MGDS.

b. Impact on business sector
The MGDS recognises human resource development as key to economic development in Malawi. The business sector requires human resource that is well educated and skilled for it to power the economy. This project will therefore have positive impact on this sector through the skills that the girls will attain at the centres.

c. Impact on the community
When juveniles are released and re-integrated into their communities, they become productive members of those communities through employment/ self employment and the good moral values attained at the centres. Targeting girl child offenders with appropriate reformatory services will also ensure a more inclusive growth where they are able to benefit from the services that the economy provides and also contribute to that growth.

d. Impact on the environment
The project will have no adverse effect on the environment since it will be implemented within the institutional boundaries which are already developed.

e. Indicate, if any, Cost-Benefit Analysis Results
The actual cost-benefit results would be clear after the design stage. However there are several shadow benefits that will accrue from the implementation of this project and this can be summarised at three levels:

The Economy: Reformation of the girl juvenile reduces the future rate of offending, thereby reducing the cost to the taxpayers who do not have to pay for the criminal justice system that would have processed those offenses.
The Community: Benefits of reforming the girl child will also accrue to people and communities who would otherwise have been the victims of possible future and more serious crimes.
The Girl Juvenile: The interventions of the reformation program also contribute towards improved schooling outcomes and employment opportunities for the girls through the values of discipline and the livelihood skills that they will gain from the program.

From the onset of the project, all stakeholders, including surrounding communities, will be consulted to create a sense of ownership.  The project will also ensure that the institutions’ capacity to manage the hostels is enhanced for continuity beyond the life span of the project.   The construction of the girls’ hostels will ensure that there is continued access to formal education and vocational training for the girls.

The project will be managed by the Ministry through the Directorate of Planning and Research who will also recruit a consultant to design and supervise the project during construction phase. After completion of the hostels, the operational and management hostels will be under the Reformatory Centres themselves with the Principal as the contact person. The Monitoring Unit of the ministry in collaboration with the Buildings Department will monitor and supervise the project on regular intervals during the construction phase to ensure its sucessful implemetation.

The Department of Planning and Research in the Ministry of Gender, Children and Community Development will be responsible for the designing of a comprehensive M&E Framework specific to this project to monitor resources invested, the activities implemented, services delivered after the completion of the project as well as evaluate outcomes achieved and long-term impact made through the rehabilitation of the girl child in these Reformatory Centres. Besides, as aforementioned the Planning and Research Department in collaboration with the Department of Buildings will conduct regular site visits to monitor progress during the implementation of the project.