The UNICEF Project
In Malwi, persons under 18 years old who are classified as children constitute 54% of the population (PCH 2008). Youth constitute over 65% of Malawi’s population (Housing Census 2008).
In recognizing that youth and children are the future of every nation this highly significant proportion of the [population cannot be ignored less our future be characterized with mediocre and poor leaders.
Investing in child and youth development is therefore not an option but a must which guarantees future high quality human capital and productivity essential for the propelling the development process and fuelling economic growth for Malawi.
The major challenges facing children and youth in Malawi is their vulnerability to abuse, violence, neglect, malnutrition and subjection to harmful cultural practices e.g. female genital mutilation, early marriages and the like.
In view of this MHRYN in partnership with UNICEF implemented advocacy for children and youth during campaign during 2014 election where children and youth identified priority areas.
On 14th March 2014 we conducted a children/youth forum where they identified and priotised issues.
Some of the priority areas identified as issues by children and youth that they wish presidential candidate to commit to in addressing when elected into office include;
- Reduction in neonatal mortalities, reduction of chronic malnutrition and hunger,
- Increased access to quality education,
- Acceleration of passing the marriage bill which includes minimum marriage age of 21 years,
- Job creation for the youth.
A signing ceremony of commitment towards the issues raised was done as a symbolic gesture their resolve to alleviate the plight of children and youth of Malawi.
This engagement meeting was conducted on 3rd , 4th and 7th April, 2014 at the Bingu International Conference Hall in Lilongwe.
Each presidential candidate was allocated a one hour time slot.
Following this meeting, on 28th March 2014 we conducted another forum with all stakeholder dealing in issues of children and youths.
During this meeting consultations were made on the children and youth identified issues, priorities were discussed.
In view of the above meetings we invited all senior political party representatives to brief them on the children and youth priority areas for them to present these issues to their political party most especially the President in preparation of the signing ceremony on 3rd and 4th April 2014.