Dowa Children’s Parliament urges govt to prioritize their rights

By Kondwani Kandiyado

Children’s parliament that sat in Mponela- Dowa from Sunday to Monday this week has appealed to the government and other stakeholders to help end children’s rights violations.

Some of the concerns raised during the two day session include effects of climate change on children, inadequate drugs in hospitals, sexual harassment, lack of teaching and learning materials in schools, increased child marriages, increased child labour and poor quality education in the district.

The children said the issues raised were impinging on their rights and there was a need to reverse the trend.

One of the parliamentarians from Dzaleka Refugee camp Merveille Katulanya who was also the speaker said it was high time authorities intervened on issues raised to help create a conducive environment for children in the district.

She said children’s parliament was important as it gave them a platform to articulate issues affecting children.

Another parliamentary, 10- year old Diana Mwaya from When the Saints Girls Academy observed that education standards are going down such that there is need for authorities to pump more resources such as books and good classroom blocks.

Speaking in an interview on Monday, the District Commissioner for Dowa, Stallich Mwambiwa said government will create an enabling environment for enjoyment of children’s rights in the district.

“We know issues of child abuse are rampant in the district, and as a district we have intensified construction of police units in the district to help reverse the trend,” said Mwambiwa.

Plan Malawi Projects Manager Lawrence Maulidi said the organisation will continue remaining a link by helping take issues from children to government and vice versa.

“We want to see children having the confidence to report issues affecting them to relevant authorities for action,” he said.

The sitting of Children’s parliament in Dowa was funded by Plan International, World Vision International, United Nations Higher Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)and When the Saints among others.