Neno CSOs Appeal for Increased Budget on Child Rights Protection

Chidakwa Chidakwa - pic by Steve Kalungwe

As schools are closed in the wake of Covid-19 outbreak, children being in the vulnerable group of people, are facing numerous abuses, ranging from infringement to the right to education, early pregnancies and marriages and taking over parental responsibilities at home.

A local NGO in Neno, Community Action for Sustainable Development (CASDO) with funding from NORAD through SAVE the Children Malawi is on an advocacy campaign, lobbying its district council to come up with deliberate budgetary allocations to the promotion of child rights.

CASDO Executive Director, David McPherson Chidakwa, said civil society organizations have a duty to lobby councils for an increase in funds towards mitigating child sufferings in this Covid19 outbreak.

"If our children are not being fed with right information on Covid19 and protected from any possible abuse due to school closures, then we are losing a generation of future leaders," said Chidakwa.

Chidakwa then asked parliamentarians to consider increase the 5% Constituency Development Fund (CDF) allocation to bursaries, saying the percentage is too minimal to promote education, while calling the decentralization policy at councils to relax the fund and be controlled by a multi-sector not only the MP.

In response, Neno District Council Director of Planning and Development, Patrick Manyowa, said his council is ready to engage the CSO's in identifying areas where more funding is needed in order to protect the right of a child during the Covid19 pandemic.

As a challenge being faced by CSOs in their quest to engage district councils on child friendly budgets, Henry Machemba of NGO CCR, said “CSO’s lack access to information on budget formulation at district level, as it is hidden, thereby making it difficult for them to lobby for child friendly budgets",.

CASDO will implement the "Children are Protected" advocacy campaign for a period of five years in all four Traditional Authorities of Neno under the Securing Children's Rights through Education and Protection (SCREP) program.

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