The MHRYN implemented a fulfillment of the presidential commitments to the children and youths of Malawi project with funding from UNICEF. The project was designed and implemented against the background of the 10 children and youth’s commitment declarations signed by the 2014 presidential candidates whereby children and youths presented their issues to the aspirant presidential candidates to be incorporated in their manifestos and eventually implement them as such, the MHRYN embarked on this project in order to follow up if the president fulfilled the commitments of the children and youth of Malawi in two districts of Machinga and Mzuzu.
Building on the previous project MHRYN conducted two activities in Southern region and Central the project proposed to find mechanism in preventing of the recurrence of the tragedy that happened during 53rd Independence Day commemoration in which eight (8) children and an adult lost lives in a stamped. MHRYN weighed the recommendations that emanated from various for a, opinions and views of expressed in both print and electronic media.
While electoral cycle is considered as a business for the adults, in recent years, children have developed exponential interest in matters of politics and good governance. This trend is attributed to technological advanced that has extensively supported the flourish uses of smart phones and social media. The consequence therefore, before becoming eligible voters, children are already sympathizing with political parties and sometimes just political personalities. With more than 50 political parties registered and several personalities running for public offices as independent candidates, political divide towards may 2019 will be greater than any other electoral cycle for this country. Such political environment is potentially explosive and therefore children are at greater risk of being trapped in running battles between political adversaries.
The project overall goal was placing political parties as centrality for the child protection throughout the electoral process.
The Project specific objectives was
- The establish coordination mechanism for child protection across key players in the electoral cycle particularly the political parties.
- To build capacity of political parties in respect of rights and child protection
- To elevate child rights and child protection agenda in packaging political messages
- To stimulate enhanced compliance to set minimum standards of child protection during electoral cycle.
MHRYN conducted a stakeholder’s consultative workshop on proposing coordination mechanism for child protection in Malawi at crossroads hotel. The workshop was grace by retired ambassador Ronnie Mkomba, Children activist, stakeholders, media and other youth organization. The aim of the activity was to come up mechanism on how children can be protected during election campaign. As we aware that most of the campaigns happens in schools, markets place etc. where children are always available
- Participates recommended that during political arrays it is every ones responsibility, recognizing the presence of children hence making sure that they are protected.
- The protocol must as well observe the presence of children by specifically allocating their seats.
- Malawi Human Rights Commission must do its role in protecting children.
- Participates also recommended that there is need of following up the information discussed so as to make sure that some issues are solved.
- There is need to elevating the child profiling on child rights issues during elections.
- There is need of raising awareness through media and other platforms and the district based agents and also building the capacity of civil servants organization to be able to keep one voice on protecting the children.
- There is need to craft a proper message for the parents passed through the key stake holders.
- Reporting should be friendly, journalist should be trained how to cover issues concerning children
- There is need of introducing Traditional Authorities code of conducts on child rights during elections as soon as on possible means of protecting children rights during election