Malawi: Parliament Urged to Discuss Issues of Children

Salima — NGO Coalition on Child Rights (NGO CCR) has urged Parliament to spare time to discuss issues related to children during their sittings.

NGO CCR Executive Director, Desmond Mhango said this in Salima on Wednesday during a two day media training that was organised by Timveni Child and Youth Media Organisationonthe 18+ Media Project on Ending Child Marriages.

He said there was a time when they worked with Parliament to pass a bill which established National Children Commission but said part of the bill was that Parliament has to create special time in every siting to discuss issues of children in the country.

Mhango added that this has not happened since 2018 as such the Coalition is trying to speak with parliament to make sure that they implement their own decisions.

"We understand that they need to come up with guidelines and this is what we want them to start discussing, if they don't the NGO CCR will remind them," he said.

The Director said it was relevant that Parliament do this citing the recent scenario where there are over 40,000 girls who have fallen pregnant in the wake of Covid-19.

"The question now is, who is discussing these matters, do our leaders share the concern of all these children about 12, 000 married off.

"Unless Parliament understand the consequences of these children who fall pregnant and married off, it will be difficult for parliament to make informed policy decisions, again it will be difficult for them to make a budget that responds" Mhango pointed out.

He added that they have been appealing to Parliament to create special fund for these girls to be looked after under a rehabilitation process and be sponsored to school despite the pregnancies and being withdrawn from early marriages.

Executive Director for Timveni Child and Youth Media Organisation, Herbert Chidaya said they conducted the training so that Media practitioners are well equipped on issues of children.

"It is about having an understanding that child marriage is a big problem in the country and there is need for coordinated efforts to end child marriage in the country," he said.

Chidaya said each and every stakeholder including government, civil society and the communities should take role in ending child marriages.

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