LILONGWE-(MaraviPost) – Misinformation and slow enforcement of laws, are said to be perpetuating girl child abuses in Malawi, which requires urgent attention, according to child rights experts.
Girl child abuses are happening at a time Malawi has passed significant legal frameworks in Parliament in recent past that are meant to contain such abuses, including defilement, child labor, trafficking, and corporal punishment in schools, among others.
During the girls’ national conference held on Wednesday in Lilongwe, participants again underscored that girl child abuses are perpetuated by relatives and other known people, who are trusted with responsibility to look after them.
In an interview with The Maravi Post after the national conference opening, Action Aid Education, and Youth Manager Julie Juma, expressed concern about the vices that are a major stumbling block to the girl child’s education.
Juma said that despite the country having very vibrant laws to arrest gender-based abuses, girls in Malawi remain victims, and as a country, Malawi is missing the plot of promoting girl child’s education.
She however, disclosed that through leadership and human rights campaigns through conferences that Action Aid is embarking, will save girls from such abuses.
“Misinformation about girls’ rights and slow enforcement of laws are attributing a lot to the escalation of abuses of girls, which the nation must handle with urgency.
“Through leadership training and conferences, will be able to empower a few girls who are to stand against all odds of violence. It’s better to save the few than none. But the work must be by all agencies that promote girl child education,” Juma urged.
Echoing on the same, Angelina Banda, from M’bobo Primary School, Ndaula Zone in Lilongwe said that most rural girls are subjected to abuses due to lack of information about their rights.
Banda said direct engagement with girl child on leadership and rights at early stages, will enhance their participation in education.
Standard eight Jessie Mgawa of Rukuru Primary School from Chitipa district thanked Action Aid initiative, which she said will help to understand better, children rights.
Held with the financial support from NORAD, the three-day conference attracted 90 pupils from four districts of Chitipa, Neno, Ntchisi and Lilongwe.
Action Aid, in conjunction with Civil Society on Education Coalition (CSEC), has organized the conference to build a future generation of women leaders by equipping them with knowledge on leadership, assertiveness, and entrepreneurship.
With the theme “Girl’s Leadership Begins Now!” the conference aims to provide a platform for the young girls from the rural areas of Malawi to interact with different stakeholders in education and discuss the challenges they face. This would enable them to realize their right to education and find solutions together to keep girls in school.