The programme aims to strengthen national capacities to ensure that orphans and other vulnerable children realise their rights to grow up in a loving, protective and nurturing environment. Free from stigma and discrimination, the children are provided with access to basic social services on an equal basis with other children. The programme also contributes to national efforts to protect children against all forms of violence, exploitation, neglect and discrimination.
In 2007, a strategic partnership between UNICEF, District Assemblies and civil society organizations provided support to 1,581 community-based child care centres, reaching just under 117,000 children. UNICEF's support covered training of volunteer caregivers and community committees, and providing learning materials to the centres. UNICEF's also supports catalytic activities aimed at creating capacity for early childhood development in all districts of Malawi, such as training of trainers, policy implementation, development of manuals and guidelines and development of capacities for information management.
Psychosocial care for orphans and other children made vulnerable by AIDS is provided through Children’s Corners. In 2007, UNICEF supported 607 Children's Corners, reaching close to 50,000 children. These efforts are linked with home-based care groups, life skills training for young people and legal aid for orphans and widows. The 'Journey of Life' methodology, adapted from South Africa, is used to train those who provide psychosocial service to children in the Children's Corners.
In close collaboration with the Government and development partners, UNICEF continues to explore ways and means to strengthen social protection measures for orphans and other vulnerable children. In order to provide a protective environment for all children, legislative and policy frameworks are being strengthened. UNICEF continues to advocate for the enactment of national birth registration bill and the establishment of a national birth registration system. UNICEF is also assiting with the enactment of other key pieces of legislation, such as the Child Care Protection and Justice Bills and the Wills and Inheritance Act.
UNICEF has assisted the Police Victim Support Units to respond appropriately to child victims of abuse by training 70 police officers in play therapy. Through play therapy, a child can communicate what has happened to them in a way that reduces the potential of re-traumatisation.
The 'Stop Child Abuse' campaign is raising public awareness and stimulating debate on child abuse, a subject that has been shrouded in silence and secrecy in Malawi for far too long.
VIDEO: Early childhood education centres in Malawi
4 October 2010 - UNICEF's Victor Chinyama reports on early childhood education centres in Malawi.
Real lives: Orphans and other vulnerable children and child protection
Real Lives tells the stories of children in Malawi whose lives have been touched by UNICEF.