UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Agency, today announced two new partnerships – with Airtel and NAM (Netball Association of Malawi) to protect and promote the rights of adolescent girls in Malawi.

The agreements signed in Lilongwe today will see a range of innovations and interventions to protect girls from violence, sexual abuse and to promote their right to an education.

Airtel Malawi’s MD, Heiko Schlittke, speaking about the partnership today said:

Airtel is delighted to be partnering with UNICEF for the benefit of children in Malawi. Young girls need support, encouragement and guidance to help them realise their true potential. I’m proud that Airtel is contributing to UNICEF’s mission.’

Apart from supporting the Social Rehabilitation Centre in Lilongwe, Airtel Malawi  is committed to supporting UNICEF’s efforts to reduce violence, especially sexual abuse, towards girls and young women. Airtel will sponsor media space, broadcast messages and services to give support and advice to victims of violence.

NAM through its national team the Malawi Queens, are unrivalled in terms of their consistent performance on the global stage. Since the 1980’s their performance has steadily improved to reach the current global position of 5th – an incredible achievement for the country.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Carol Bapu from NAM said,

We are excited to be joining with UNICEF to use the power of sport and the Malawi Queens to inspire and motivate girls and young women all over the country to achieve great things. Sport teaches us many things – discipline, hard work and team building. But too many young women in Malawi don’t get the support they need to be healthy, safe and well educated. With UNICEF we hope to inspire them and amplify their voices.

The NAM and Queens members will be involved in campaigns to reduce violence and improve girls’ chances of finishing school and delaying marriage. They will also support UNICEF’s emerging sport for development programmes.

UNICEF has seen the power of sport in development through its strong pedigree of global sports partners. The NAM and the Malawi Queens will proudly take their place amongst other UNICEF partners including Barcelona FC, Manchester United, the New Zealand Rugby team and Serena Williams.

UNICEF Malawi Representative, Mahimbo Mdoe said at the event:

UNICEF is excited to embark on these two new partnerships, aimed at protecting and promoting the rights of adolescent girls in the country. There can be no greater unrealised potential than that of young women who are often pregnant or married before they’ve had a chance to complete their education. This is a great loss of economic and social potential for Malawi. With the communications support of Airtel, and the inspiring stories of the Queens, I am optimistic that girls in Malawi can shine.


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