Brighton Tchongwe – Malawi Exclusive
Plan Malawi International has highlighted on the need for collaboration amongst different stakeholders championing for children’s rights if children’s voices are to be heard.
Plan Malawi Country Director Laula Criado made the remarks during the opening of a day 2021 National Children’s Parliament in Lilongwe.
The Meeting aimed at amplifying children voices on their views, aspirations and opinions on critical issues affecting them, in order for government and other stakeholders to take action.
In her opening remarks, Criado called on authorities to come together in sensitizing and counseling communities on the effects and dangers of child marriages.
“Children constitute the largest population group amongst all population groups not only in Malawi. Such largest population group need to be given a platform in the development of the nation. The 2063 development strategy cannot be achieved if the largest group is left behind,” said Criado.
She added that the meeting today is one of her organizations pillars to make sure that children are protected from every abuse, by among other means formulating laws that are aimed at protecting their welfare as well as lobbying for massive support from the main parliament to pass these laws.
“If you look at our cornerstone, it is about collaboration, influencing policy and advocacy, and Parliamentarians are the law makers. If we have to protect the rights of children, we need to have the right players from the onset being mobilized for them to be aware and be able to support the rights of children by among other things increasing allocation of resources in the programs such as health, and education amongst others,” she added.
In order to make sure that children voices are being voiced out in totality, Plan Malawi has called upon government ministries, department and agencies (MDAs), international and local NGOs to make children’s parliament an annual event.
In his remarks, deputy speaker of Parliament Madalitso Kazombo who was also the guest of honor it is necessary for children to be give a platform to speak out considering that it is them who hold the future of this nation.
“As Parliament of Malawi, we have the welfare of all Malawian Children at heart. This is evidenced in a number of ways including the enactment of various pieces of child related laws aimed at protecting them”. Said Kazombo.
Meanwhile, Government through the Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare has said they are about to finalize formulating the national children’s commission which will be responsible for looking at all issues relating to children that they are brought together by one entity and making sure that they are implemented.
Principal Secretary in the ministry Roselyn Makhumula said the commission will be operational in 2021.
About 60 children drawn from Mzimba, Lilongwe, Ntcheu, Mulanje, Phalombe, Zomba and Dowa are participating in the meeting.