Greetings Dear Reader,
Malawi is facing a major challenge in 2023 with the continuing spread of Cholera resulting in over 1,108 people have died as of 30 January 2023 and over 34,355 cases have been confirmed across the 26 districts. The root cause is poor water and sanitation. The impact on youth and children is devastating, with many children becoming orphans. The Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability & Social Welfare should assess the number of orphaned children to help plan support. Prevention of Cholera should be the top priority in development processes. To help prevent Cholera, it is important to regularly wash hands, especially after using the toilet and before eating.
Malawi is also grappling with new revelations of corruption and theft. The recent debates surrounding the arrest of the Director General of the Anti-Corruption Bureau ended up in the media and social media. The investigation by the Malawi Human Rights Commission may provide more information. However, the continued corruption erodes the confidence of development partners and a change in mindset is needed to combat it. It is everyone’s responsibility to fight corruption and not just the leadership.
Safe Internet Day on February 7th promotes responsible and safe use of technology by children and young people. The internet is useful, but also has risks such as cyberbullying, privacy invasion, identity theft, access to offensive content, and the presence of strangers. It is important to create a safer internet by being aware of safety issues, using strong antivirus and passwords, limiting access to unsafe sites, and not sharing passwords. Parents should also supervise children while they are online.
Valentine’s Day on February 14th can also bring about unintended consequences such as teenage pregnancies, frustrations, and mental health issues. It is important to manage Valentine’s Day with care and seek guidance where necessary.
There is a rising problem of violence against children in Malawi, with YONECO registering 10 to 15 cases of abuse every 8 hours of Helpline operations. These cases mainly involve sexual abuse and violence. Tangible protection mechanisms, not just policies, need to be put in place to address the issue. The recent murder of Praise Mafotetsa, a 12-year-old girl, is a tragic reminder of the dangers facing school-going girls in particular. Strategies need to be put in place to curb this threat.
Malawi will be joining the 61st Commission on Social Development in New York from February 6th to 15th, 2023 under the theme of “Creating full and productive employment and decent work for all”. Malawi is one of the least developed countries and must reflect on what products and services it can offer to improve employment and move away from handouts towards productivity.