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Minister of Gender Community Development and Social Welfare, Jean Muonaoauza Sendeza, on Wednesday led leaders of the civil society organizations (CSOs) and government officials in launching the Continental Study Report on the Children Without Parental Care in Africa at a function that took place in Lilongwe.

A consortium of six child rights-based CSOs, which include SOS Children’s Villages in Malawi, NGO Coalition on Child Rights (NGOCCR), National Youth Network on Climate Change (NYNCC), Joining Forces for Children, and the Citizen Alliance (CA), facilitated the launch of the report through the ‘No Child Should Grow Up Alone Campaign’.

The report was unveiled under the theme: ‘Strong families: key to the promotion and realization of Child Rights’.

In her remarks, Sendeza lamented the social and economic hardships children are forced to bear following the fall of marriages of their parents.

She therefore described the launch of the No Child Should Grow Up Alone a timely, stressing that the campaign aims at garnering political commitment and investment to end child abuse, neglect and exploitation, unnecessary child-family separation both in humanitarian and development settings.

“The relevance of this campaign is that, it is a great reminder that we have a lot of work to do to protect children, protect and strengthen families and community systems for child protection as well as monitor enforcement of child-related laws in the country. It is now time to propel bold strides towards the realization of the promise and aspirations of the agenda 2040 whose aim is to make Africa and Malawi fit for children. Malawi’s 2063 first 10 year Implementation Plan Enabler Number 5, emphasizes on Human Capital Development, and this can only be achieved through parenting and education support to families. It is only then, that Malawi will be able to build a strong, reliable, self-reliant, resilient and productive society,” said Sendeza.

The minister said it is time Malawians moved from more rhetoric to more actions, saying this is key to achieving the much-needed change around the sorry state of children without parental care in Malawi and beyond.

Sendeza assured the participants that the Government of Malawi will seriously consider the inclusion of Children Without Parental Care in national statistical databases or periodic studies such as Demographic Health Surveys (DHS), Multi-Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS), and National Household Surveys to generate robust national-level statistics on Children Without Parental Care in the country in order to have accurate data to inform policy and strategy formulation.

“Government will facilitate finalization and gazetting of the Draft Child Care Protection and Justice Foster Homes Regulations which propose a range of suitable care options, comprehensive gatekeeping mechanisms, case management structures and systems, and comprehensive national information management and quality standards for alternative care provision as a way of domesticating the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children. Government and its partners will enhance child safeguarding and protection systems to ensure that all children under various care options are protected from all forms of abuse and neglect by allocating adequate resources to the Malawi Human Rights Commission,” she said.

Speaking earlier, the National Director for SOS Children’s Villages in Malawi, Smart Namagonya, reiterated the call for the government to expedite the finalization, gazetting and implementation of the Draft Child Care Protection and Justice Foster Homes Regulations in order to address challenges children without biological parents face in the country.

By Nyasa Times.

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