The Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare has called upon well wishers including international organizations to support Youth Net and Counseling (YONECO) for them to initiate their interventions in all districts in the country.
Speaking after a familiarization tour of the national helpline service over the weekend, Minister of Gender Dr. Jean Kalirani said her ministry is impressed by YONECO’s excellent work and services.
Kalirani applauded YONECO for fighting against child abuse and gender based violence across the country through their national help line service in addition to other interventions, such as; Youth Development, governance and human rights and women and gender.
“Government is aware of the great role you are playing through the help line service which is assisting other partners like police and courts to intervene and play their roles accordingly,” said Kalirani.
The minister also emphasized the need to build community structures such as child protection committees, community police committees for them to respond positively towards issues of child abuse and gender based violence.
In his remarks, YONECO Executive Director MacBain Mkandawire assured the minister that his organization will continue providing services based on the needs of people as one way of fostering what government is initiating on Child protection, GBV, good governance and human rights, women empowerment, and adapting and mitigating climate change.
Mkandawire also commended government through the Ministry of Gender for their effort in making sure that the marriage age is increased from 16 to 18 years which just passed in parliament recently.
He added that his organization is facing some challenges which are making them fail to reach out to many clients.
He said YONECO receives over 2000 complaints through its call centers and 63 walking clients respectively.
In her visit to YONECO, Kalirani visited IT system which provides helpline and GBV crisis services including Chinamwali drop in centre and safe place. She was also hosted live at Y FM where she responded questions from Gloria Nthara and Prisca Namukokwe on issues affecting children in Malawi.
YONECO initiated the first ever toll free line in August 2006 which was adopted by Malawi government in March 2011.
The National helpline is a national response mechanism against child abuse that provides referrals to relevant authorities.
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