Chikwawa working to mainstream youth and children in development strategy

Chikwawa District Council has gone an extra mile in incorporating youth and children to have a voice in a bid to participate actively in governance and development that the district intends to achieve.

The District’s Director of Planning and Development Thokozani Munthali said this on Tuesday when the council gathered various implementing partners for the Child and Youth Friendly Community Initiative (CYFCI) to establish a consolidated approach in enhancing the outlined objectives in complementing Chikwawa District’s strategic plan with support from UNICEF Malawi.

UNICEF and Chikwawa District Council officials posing for a photo

“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 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.

Some of the key implementing partners of the initiative in Chikwawa include the University of Malawi to offer an oversight in monitoring, evaluation, research and learning; Development Communication Trust to focus on accountability and ensure that youth and children participate in the council’s development plan to have their issues embedded; Mpira Mmmudzi to champion sports as a tool for development and enable safe spaces for youth and children to speak out; Anti-Corruption Bureau to amplify that corruption is a human rights issue by reinforcing the role of youth and children as strategic pillars in the anti-corruption drive; Mibawa, to document and populize interventions as well as facilitating multi-stakeholder engagement on CYFCI; Law Commission, to build capacity of youth and children in knowing rights and reporting abuses.

The key pillars on the initiative include child and youth participation and value, enhancing children and youth voices, access to quality essential social services, safe, secure and clean environment as well as family life, play and leisure.

Mpira Mmudzi Director of Programmes Gomezgani Mkandawire noted that the gathering significantly unearthed key thematic areas and approaches that implementing partners need to cordially strive to accomplish.

“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 the 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 Child and Youth Friendly Communities Initiative (CYFCI) with an aim of responding to the challenge of realizing the rights of children in communities.

The district has since developed a CYFCI strategic plan for a period of 2022 to 2026 to guide the implementation of children and youth focused interventions to ensure that children’s rights are achieved for every child.

The strategy will guide various stakeholders to put children and youths at the centre of planning and implementation of activities that will lead to attainment of children’s rights in communities where they live.

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