BY: Vincent Gunde
LAW COMMISSION TO IMPLEMENT SAFE SCHOOLS PROGRAMME IN DOWA
The Law Commission has partnered with UNICEF to implement Elimination of violence against children( prevention, protection and response) project, a safe schools programme to clients in Dowa district.
The organization will equip children with guidance and knowledge on effects of all forms of violence on their well being and development, ensure care by a competent person, coordinating and engaging with other stakeholders and establishing a trust and dependability between parent and child.
According to the findings, survey on Violence Against Children( VAC), more than 60% of the victims tell someone about maltreatment but less than 10% ever reached the services.
Speaking when introducing the project to the Dowa District executive council committee held at the boma, Law Commission’s Reform Officer, Wongani Mvula, urged citizens to be proactive that when they see the right of a child has been violated, they should not be sleeping on the matter but reporting to other bodies for justice to prevail.
Mvula gave out examples of punishments and penalties which many people are not aware of such as desertion of a child, 7 years imprisonment, failure to supply necessaries to children, 3 years, forced marriage, 10 years, owner of premise where defilement takes place on the girl under the age of 16, 5 years.
He said there’s lack of knowledge of the legal framework for protecting children from violence and abuse saying this demand sensitization to create public awarenesses.
The officer said his organization is mandated to impact awareness on the laws of Malawi but monetary resources cannot afford it to roll out to all schools expressing hope that with assistance from UNICEF, awareness messages will reach out to all including the hard to reach areas.
In his remarks, Dowa District council’s Acting Director of Planning and Development, Yusuf Laki, welcomed the project into the district saying if implemented well , it will achieve its objective in the district.
Laki asked the Law Commission to organize a meeting with chiefs and councilors saying they are custodian of the land for effective and efficient communication to their subjects.