Malawi’s social protection programmes on right footing -official

Malawi has made some “remarkable” strides towards meeting recommended social protection measures aimed at providing support and assistance to poor household families, a senior government official said.

The recommended social protection instruments include social cash transfer programmes to enhance family income; public employment programmes, such as public works programme; social health protection that ensures access to health care and financial protection; and unemployment protection that provides adults with partial income replacement in order to reduce the need to rely on the income of working children, among others.

This also comes when Malawi will join the rest of International Labour Organisation (ILO) member states to commemorate the World Day Against Child Labour at Mkanda Primary School in central district of Mchinji this Thursday.

Labour Ministry PS James Kalilangwe (left) says program in right footing
Labour Ministry PS James Kalilangwe (left) says program in right footing

This year the day will be commemorated under the theme “Extended Social Protection and Combat Child Labour”.

According to James Kalilangwe, principal secretary in the Ministry of Labour, this year’s theme calls for action to reduce, improve and extend social protection in line with the ILO recommendation on social protection

“The theme for this year draws our attention to the role of social protection in keeping children out of child labour and removing them from the problem,” Kalilangwe said.

He claimed that social protection, when effective, helps to give all children an equal opportunity to fulfil their potential and live healthy, happy and productive lives and attend school without problems.

Kalilangwe also said there is room for improvement on the current social protection measures both in terms of quality and coverage.

According to him, poverty and shocks play a key role in driving children into child labour.

“There shocks that arise like loss of jobs by the adult family members, serious illness or employment injury and loss of agricultural produce due to drought and floods that can dramatically reduce household incomes and cause children to drop out of school and go to work to supplement family income,” explained Kalilangwe.

He said child labour remains rampant as revealed by 2002 Malawi Child Labour survey.

It showed that there were 1.4 million children in Child Labour, representing 37 percent of the children in the country.

However, the Malawi Indicator Cluster Survey conducted in 2006, showed a drop to 20 percent. The drop was attributed to the sustained interventions that were undertaken by the government and stakeholders.

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