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Malawi, 4 October 2014: UNICEF and the Malawi Interfaith AIDS Association launch child protection programme

4 October 2014, LILONGWE – UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Agency, in partnership with the Malawi Interfaith AIDS Association (MIAA) officially launched today a child protection programme within the faith community under the theme: “Stop Child Abuse”.

To end violence against children in the country, UNICEF is partnering with various organisations and is implementing the Justice for Vulnerable Group Project funded by DFID to create a safer and enabling environment for children and young people. As part of this project MIAA will promote the protection of children through religious teachings. Through this partnership, the faith community will reaffirm and extend longstanding efforts to nurture and influence the safeguarding of children and youth from all forms of abuse and violence.

MIAA’s Executive, Robert Ngaiyaye, speaking about the partnership with the faith community, said:

‘The launch of Child Protection within the faith community has attracted the attention and participation of different development partners and government. During this day the faith community will come together in worship and prayer for the welfare of children in this country." The activities for the day will be facilitated and dominated by the children themselves. Subsequent to the event, the faith community of this country will begin to observe a Day of Prayer for Child Protection every year in November.’

The highlight of the launch was the signing of a declaration of commitment to child protection by the faith community in Malawi, a key milestone in Malawi’s journey to eliminate violence against children. The declaration calls for an end to all forms of violence towards children in whatever measure and makes commitments to ensure that children are protected within the faith community institutions and structures, and in all communities.

UNICEF Malawi Representative, Mahimbo Mdoe said at the event:

‘Today, faith communities continue to be an indispensable partner in UNICEF’s work to advance children’s rights and enhance their well-being. Such partnerships are especially important in our renewed focus on reaching the poorest, most vulnerable and hardest to reach children and families. And as you sign the Declaration, let us remember each of the millions of children who is robbed of that precious right: the right to have a childhood.’

A study on violence against children, conducted by UNICEF in 2013 in cooperation with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare revealed a pervasive culture of abuse, violence and exploitation of children across the country.

According to the study, two out of three children experience violence before the age of 18. One in five girls in Malawi experience sexual abuse as a child, and almost half before the age of 13, twice as many girls as boys experience sexual abuse, and the perpetrator who is usually known to them, carries out on multiple occasions. Physical violence is more common for boys than girls (62% vs 41%) and is most commonly carried out by parents, peers and male teachers. One in four children experiencing physical violence suffer a serious injury.

For more information, please contact: 
Edwina Hanjahanja, MIAA Director of Programmes, Mobile: 0999 511 786
Angela Travis, UNICEF Malawi Communication, atravis@unicef.org

 

 

 
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