MHRRC implements Rights of Persons with Albinism Project

MHRRC Programmes Officer says the project’s specific objective is to empower persons with albinism with necessary knowledge and skills to understand their rights.

The Malawi Human Rights Resource Centre [MHRRC] will implement a two-year project, cultivating an environment for the promotion of the Rights of Persons with Albinism in Malawi [CEPPAM] in six districts of the country, including Dowa.

Currently, the MHRRC is also implementing projects on Enhancing Citizen Voice and Action in Local Governance and Development Process in Dowa and Ntchisi with funding from Danish Church Aid [DCA]- Norwegian Church Aid [NCA] joint programme and a power to the Youth Project [PTY] in Dedza and Machinga districts.

The organization said the analysis have revealed that the phenomenon of albinism is widely and profoundly misunderstood in Malawi, physical appearance of persons with albinism remains the object of erroneous beliefs and myths influenced by superstition which foster their marginalization and social exclusion saying this leads to various forms of stigma and discrimination and violence where people with albinism are attacked for their body parts.

Presenting the new project to the District Executive Committee in Dowa, MHRRC Programmes Officer, Charles Gawani, said the overall objective of the project is to promote, protect and defend the fundamental rights of Persons with albinisms in Malawi.

Gawani said the project’s specific objective is to empower persons with albinism with necessary knowledge and skills to understand their rights and to hold duty-bearers to account and eliminate all forms of violence against persons with albinism in the targeted districts, strengthening policy and legal frameworks to protect, promote and defend the rights of Persons with Albinism.

He said the project will train 120 community journalists on albinism reporting, organize 12 district and two national debates, commemorations of the International Albinism Awareness Day, 60 district community structures, 120 community [traditional healers, religious, opinion leaders] on negative attitudes towards Persons with Albinism and translate Community Based Management security guidelines for Persons with Albinisms into local languages.

The officer said the project will work with Association of Persons with Albinism [APAM] to lobby parliamentary committees on review of laws pertaining to trafficking in body parts, witchcraft, and traditional medicine, and to work with relevant structures in 6 districts for district-specific needs assessment on security and participation in mainstream activities.

“The project will train 50 MPs and 150 councilors from 6 districts in disability inclusive development with focus on Persons with Albinism and advocate for the availability of free sunscreen lotions and assistive devices in 6 district hospitals and clinics, among others,’’said Gawani.

He also said to achieve the intended objective of the project, MHRRC will work with tentative district partners such as District Social welfare Officer, Malawi Police Service, Judiciary, District Education Officer, District Community Development Officer, District Information Officer, Muslim Association of Malawi, Qadria Muslim Association of Malawi, YONECO, CCJP, APAM, NICE and Public Affairs Committee [PAC], among others.

MHRRC will implement Cultivating an Environment for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Persons with Albinism in Malawi [CEPPAM] with funding from the European Union [EU] under the European instrument for Democracy and Human Rights [EIDHR] amounting to Euros 183,162.00 which is approximately MK144,331,656.

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Am a Malawian Journalist and Videographer