CRC Network of Malawi
Welcome to the country page of the CRC Network of Malawi! Here you will find information about our history, our Change Agents and how we have worked and still are working with implementing the Convention on the Rights of the Child and more- all in the best interest of all children. Malawi ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) as well as the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC). Malawi has been taken many initiatives to protect the rights of the child. At school level, different policies and initiatives such as 50-50 selection policy between boys and girls, re-admission policy for school drop outs, child friendly school initiative as well as free primary education policy also make significant contributions to a strong legal framework for the promotion and proÂtection of children's right to education. Malawi started their projects by formulating the structural networking between stakeholders, especially the government, MHRC in collaboration with the Malawi Institute of Education (MIE), UNICEF and so on.
Malawi had its first team in batch 3 and in total 13 teams and 35 Change agents in batches 1-21. Malawi started participating in the program with Batch 3 in 2005. Over the years, it was represented in batches 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20 and 21. While the first 7 batches focused on different impact areas in Salima, Zomba, Blantyre and Mchinji districts, batches 16, 19, 20 and 21 focused on schools in Njewa and Kalolo Education Zones in Lilongwe Rural West. As a result of this approach, child participaÂtion at school level in these zones has increased.
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The main objectives of the Malawian projects have been on different forms of student participation, e.g. involving students in decision making, and on reducing drop-out rate due to poverty, pregnancy and child labour. To increase participation of students/learners, the projects have targeted relevant duty bearers such as head teachers, deputy head teachers, School Management Committees, Parents-Teachers Associations, Mother Groups, Traditional and Religious leaders through trainings and review meetings on children's rights in education. Awareness campaigns among these duty bearers continue at school level in order to consolidate the gains recorded so far. This approach has resulted in increased understanding of children's rights in education, how to prevent drop-out, early marriages and corporal punishment. As a result the attendance rate has increased, and teachers in the targeted schools are able to give students/learners an opportunity to participate in decision making and school govÂernance on issues that affect them.
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The change work has been successful despite meeting a number of challenges. An outstanding breakthrough is involvement of learners in decision making and school governance. Apart from working at a school level, the change work is aiming towards influencing policy so that the concept of Child Rights is well addressed in the curriculum. Although the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology is aware of the change work and appreciates its positive impacts in the targeted schools, the Change Agents intends to scale up its advocacy efforts with the ministry to ensure that the concept of the Students' Councils is well understood at all levels within the ministry in order for the initiative to be adopted at a ministry level and rolled out to all primary and secondary schools in Malawi as part of the curriculum.
Despite having many challenges for example making a change into the system was hard to begin with. Some stakeholders such as teachers were not ready to be reminded of their teaching time or to stop corporal punishment. However, with time, they embraced change. Lack of interest in Child Rights by some stakeholders was also a challenge. The situation improved with continued awareness campaigns to them. However, the presence of 35 CRC Change Agents in Malawi has a great potential to spread the values and principles of CRC in the schools in Malawi. The 13 projects implemented in the schools and surrounding communities have had a strong impact in enhancing child participation in decision making processes and creating a child friendly school environment.
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If you are interested in getting in touch with us, have questions about our work or want to know more about training yourself to work with a child right approach? Please click here and find more information and see what we can offer!