Law Commission in child protection drive

By Steve Chirombo

The Malawi Law Commission has engaged Dedza based School Health and Nutrition (SHN) teachers and Primary Education Advisors (PEAs) on child and gender related laws to ensure that children are protected from all sorts of abuse.

The Commission’s Principal Civic Education Officer, Sophie Gomani, said in an interview on Monday that they organised the session as one of the partners in implementing activities aimed at protecting children under the Joint Programme on Girls Education (JPGE) funded interventions through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Principal Civic Education Officer, Sophie Gomani

“We are a government institution mandated to review and develop laws as well as raise awareness of the laws. We are here under our public awareness mandate to orient stakeholders on the laws and how they can use them to protect children,” she said.

Gomani said the basis of the project was a result of a study which found out that cases of child violence were still growing in the country which is attributed to lack of knowledge on child protection laws among people.

She said the engagement was meant to raise awareness of the laws and the penalties for flaunting the laws.

“We are also raising awareness in children themselves for them to have knowledge on how they can use the laws to protect themselves,” added Gomani.

She said since the Commission started implementing the project in 2019 there has been an improvement on the way laws are comprehended in different schools and community structures raising an increased demand for knowledge on the laws.

Dedza Social Welfare Officer, Edward Chisanga, said his office receives several child abuse cases such as child neglect, which tops the list.

Chisanga blamed parents and guardians for not doing enough to ensure that children are protected.

“We have interventions to empower parents, guardians and other community members so that they are able to play their roles in child protection. We do school and community sessions on child protection through children corners and other forums.

“The session today will improve our coordination. This will also enable stakeholders know the structures on the ground,” he stated.

PEA for Dedza, Fredson Njewa, hailed the Commission for the timely engagement in ensuring that children are safe at all times.