UNICEF HAILS ENACTMENT OF MALAWI NATIONAL CHILDREN’S COMMISSION
On 7 March 2019, Malawi Parliament passed a bill to establish the National Children’s Commission which UNICEF congratulates the country for spearheading the enactment of this important legislation.
Furthermore, the UN children’s agency has appealed for speedy Presidential assent.UNICEF says the commission will put children’s best interests on the public agenda, encourage government departments and non-government agencies to coordinate their efforts and promote better laws, policies and services for children.
“The commitment of His Excellency the President, Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika to the children of Malawi is evident in his April 2014 pledge to fulfil all rights of children and the youth. UNICEF therefore looks forward to his assent to the bill band the timely establishment of an independent national children’s commission,” UNICEF said in a statement.
IUNICEF Malawi Representative Johannes Wedenig, commenting on the issue, said UNICEF believes the National Children’s Commission would help to monitor and advocate for increased investment in children.
“Children constitute over half of Malawi’s population and the demographics justify paying special attention to their needs and that includes a dedicated independent coordination and oversight body that looks into children’s issues,” says UNICEF Malawi Representative Johannes Wedenig.
An estimated 8.9 million of Malawi’s 17.5 million population are under the age of 18, making it one of the youngest populations in Africa. About three-fifths (60.1%) of children in Malawi are multi-dimensionally poor and the majority live in rural areas. Children in Malawi are deprived in many aspects including education, nutrition, housing, health, water, sanitation and hygiene.
Although steady progress has been made to ensure that all children live in a safe and protective environment, high rates of violence against children persist. About 42% of females and 66% of males in Malawi reported that they experienced physical violence during childhood.
Malawi has one of the highest rates of child marriages in the world at 47% – nearly one out of every two girls are married before 18. The establishment of a National Children’s Commission in Malawi would enhance coordination and cooperation among all Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies and organizations that deliver services for children.