Malawi has commemorated the 2017 Day of the African child amid calls for partnership to end violence against children.
Speaking during a Press Briefing held at the Central Office of Information I Lilongwe, Minister responsible Jean Kalilani said that there is need for concerted efforts to end the abuse that children face in the in their daily lives.
“It is not a secret that child abuse and exploitation issues are becoming rampant in our communities. Looking at the magnitude of child abuse cases happening in this country, it is clear that we need to do something about it so that all children are protected and develop into useful citizens who will develop our country.
Cases of violence are happening every day and this has a lifelong impact on the emotional, psychological and physical well-being of children. Violence experienced by a child has long lasting effects in the community. The 2013 studies conducted on violence against children in Malawi give a picture of violence and actions to be undertaken by all stakeholders,” she said.
Kalilani further called upon Malawians to refrain from giving alms to beggars especially children in the street as the alms act as an attraction for people to be on the streets and thereby frustrating governments’ efforts to deal with the problem.
In his remarks, Executive Director for Chisomo Childrens’ Club Charles Gwengwe said that the protection of children is a two pronged approached and urged the whole of society to all take part in addressing the challenge.
“All sectors are responsible to eliminate violence against children. Families, communities and individuals must all take part in protecting children. Government has done a commendable job in enacting legislation, but it is everyone else’s responsibility including the media to send the right message to the citizenry,” he said.
The 2017 national commemoration events will be held on 23rd June at Kande Ground, TA Fukamapiri in Nkhatabay District under the theme “accelerating protection, empowerment and equal opportunities for all children in Malawi”.
Noel Chome, a 14 year old boy told the conference that children in Malawi face different forms of abuse and that there is need for parents and government to protect them. He said that young children are also being exposed to drug and substance abuse which has negative consequences in their lives.
The Day of the African Child is commemorated annually on 16th June in memory of the 16th June 1976 student uprising in Soweto, South Africa, to celebrate children in Africa as well as to inspire action towards addressing challenges that children in Africa face on a daily basis.