A deadly combination of poverty, HIV and AIDS and food insecurity is progressively unravelling families and communities in Malawi and leaving in its wake a generation of vulnerable and malnourished children, many of whom are becoming orphans. Nearly 13 percent of children have lost their parents or caregivers and 17 percent are living without their biological parents.
When orphans and vulnerable children are deprived of their parents, they loose their first line of protection. They also loose access to social services. Children without the guidance and protection of their primary caregivers run the risk of becoming victims of violence, exploitation, trafficking, discrimination and other abuses.
Malawi faces serious challenges from child abuse, exploitation and violence. According to the 2006 MICS, 29 per cent of children aged 5-14 years are involved in the worst forms of child labour. Sexual exploitation, abuse and trafficking of children are believed to be increasing, but more reliable statistics are needed. There is no birth registration system in the country.
Lack of appropriate knowledge and skills, cultural practices, illiteracy, gender inequity and poor access to media all contribute to continued risky attitudes and practices at individual, household and community levels. Furthermore, legislation related to child care, protection, justice, adoption and inheritance is outdated and not in line with international standards.
Photo essay: Child protection
Learn more about the challenges faced by women and children in Malawi and what UNICEF is doing about Maternal and Child Health depicted through photos.
[View photo essay]
VIDEO: Early childhood education centres in Malawi
4 October 2010 - UNICEF's Victor Chinyama reports on early childhood education centres in Malawi.