Chikwawa district steps up to mainstream youth and children in its development strategy
Chikwawa District Council has gone above and beyond to ensure that youth and children have a voice in the district's efforts to achieve active participation in governance and development.
Malawi: Chikwawa District Council has gone above and beyond to ensure that youth and children have a voice in the district's efforts to achieve active participation in governance and development.
Thokozani Munthali, the District's Director of Planning and Development, stated this on Tuesday when the council gathered various implementing partners for the Child and Youth Friendly Community Initiative (CYFCI) to establish a consolidated approach to enhancing the outlined objectives in complementing Chikwawa District's strategic plan with UNICEF Malawi's support.
“The forum has been instrumental in enabling partners to appreciate peer efforts and look forward together to prioritize activities in line with our district’s strategic plan. The initiative is yet to reach the entire district, there is a need to escalate coverage using a standardized approach that seeks to empower youth and children to proactively safeguard their rights and demand services that correspond to their prevailing needs. Remember as implementing partners you are not in competition, your role is to complement each other,” she explained.
The University of Malawi is one of the initiative's key implementing partners in Chikwawa, providing oversight in monitoring, evaluation, research, and learning.
The Development Communication Trust will focus on accountability and will ensure that youth and children participate in the council's development plan in order for their issues to be embedded.
Mpira Mmmudzi will champion sports as a development tool and create safe spaces for youth and children to express themselves.
The Anti-Corruption Bureau will emphasise that corruption is a human rights issue by emphasising the importance of youth and children as strategic pillars in the anti-corruption campaign.
Mibawa will document and populate interventions while also facilitating multi-stakeholder engagement on CYFCI.
The Law Commission will build the capacity of youth and children to know their rights and report on them.
The initiative's key pillars include child and youth participation and value, enhancing children and youth voices, access to quality essential social services, a safe, secure, and clean environment, and family life, play, and leisure.
Gomezgani Mkandawire, Director of Programmes at Mpira Mmudzi, stated that the gathering significantly unearthed key thematic areas and approaches that implementing partners must cordially strive to achieve.
“We have been working hand in hand with Development Communication Trust and the District office to identify communities. So far we have done sessions focusing on children’s rights, participation and boosting their confidence in articulating issues affecting them. From 70, now we have about 350 kids attending our sessions in the Area of Traditional Authority Ngabu and the avenue has enabled a safe space that has seen children speak out on issues to do with their rights, responsibilities, safeguarding and protection,” he said.
Chikwawa District Council signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with UNICEF Malawi to implement the Child and Youth Friendly Communities Initiative (CYFCI) in response to the challenge of realising children's rights in communities.
Since then, the district has developed a CYFCI strategic plan for the years 2022-2026 to guide the implementation of children and youth-focused interventions to ensure that every child's rights are met.
The strategy will direct various stakeholders to prioritise children and youth in the planning and implementation of activities that will lead to the realisation of children's rights in the communities where they live.