Dear Esteemed Reader,
Malawi participated in the 2023 United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) with high expectations regarding the Sustainable Development Goals 2030. This comes after a series of crises in recent years, including COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine. The emergence of climate-induced disasters, like Cyclone Freddy in Malawi and heat waves and fires in Hawaii and Canada, necessitates a re-evaluation of global management processes. While the wildfires and heat waves might seem distant in the west, their impact on redirecting aid cannot be overstated. Thus, Malawi must reconsider its strategies for disaster response and environmental management to address the country’s numerous challenges. Active engagement with the environment and support for related processes are imperative. The escalating temperatures also amplify climate-induced health issues, including mental health challenges that could exacerbate gender-based violence. These challenges, in turn, hinder both men and women’s productivity. As Malawi participates in UNGA, it’s crucial to identify potential solutions for these problems.
On the global stage, the situation involving the Spanish Coach and young player warrants international condemnation, shedding light on significant issues of protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) in the sports world. This situation also poses a hurdle to women’s participation in such activities. For Malawi, which recently launched women’s football teams alongside major teams, establishing robust safeguards for the teams is imperative to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse. Malawi must be dedicated to supporting comprehensive safeguarding mechanisms for sporting events at all levels
International Literacy Day falls on September 8, 2023, with the theme “Promoting literacy for a world in transition: Building the foundation for sustainable and peaceful societies.” Considering the challenges at hand, we are all undergoing transitions. With Malawi’s literacy rate around 67% (as of 2021 estimates), indicating that 33% of the adult population remains illiterate, the theme’s focus on peace is crucial for societal development. Thus, it’s vital to fully support adult literacy programs and projects in the nation to elevate literacy levels.
Blantyre has experienced a surge in criminal activities and attacks on citizens, often associated with street-connected children. Public dissatisfaction with the authorities’ response has been evident. To address this, we should recognize that human beings possess inherent potential for negativity, and without proper guidance, negative tendencies can manifest as children grow. Malawi must confront criminal activities by devising strategies to manage street-connected children. The Ombudsman’s report “Abandoned to the Street” highlights the challenges faced by these children and offers recommendations, yet progress remains limited even years later. A strategy for addressing these issues is absent.
The current generation of street-connected children has developed challenging behaviours due to their upbringing. The root causes involve broader social disruptions from urban poverty, making child care difficult as parents struggle to survive. These children also arise from inadequate parental care, home environments, juvenile delinquency, and emergent young gangs surviving through competition. Without robust plans to support these children, the risk of continued child delinquency looms. Hastily repatriating these children only shifts their operational zone. Therefore, the Ministry of Gender should finalize the draft Strategy on Street-Connected Children and ensure effective implementation.
As we conclude the third quarter of 2023, we extend warm wishes for a fulfilling September of reading.