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Plan International clocks 25 in Malawi

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One of the country’s non-governmental organisations, Plan International Malawi, on Wednesday clocked 25 years of operations in Malawi.

Plan International Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, Charles Businge, said his organisation has since 1994 worked directly and indirectly with over 4.8 million children (about 2.5 million girls and 2.3 million boys) aged18 years and below to improve their health status.

Businge said the organisation has supported girls and boys to complete quality and inclusive primary and secondary education and has also protected children and young people from all forms of violence and abuse.

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“We also have been proactive in mitigating the effects of socio-economic and climate change shocks and the impact of disasters on children with a focus on girls and women who are likely to be more disproportionately affected by their male counterparts,” Businge said.

He said throughout the 25 years, children and particularly girls, have been at the heart of what Plan does to ensure their rights are recognised, protected and fulfilled.

“We hence look at the 25-year journey with immense experiences. Plan International Malawi’s influencing agenda was instrumental to the 2017 constitutional amendment that raised the minimum age of marriage to 18 years in line with our globally accepted definition of the age of a child as being anyone below the age of 18.

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“Together with our partners, we have managed to make positive progress in shifting gender, social and traditional norms and practice in the communities where we work. Consequently; increasingly, we are now seeing more honest dialogue among adults with a view of protecting children. Since 2015, we have intensely worked in a total of six to 28 districts specifically to end child marriages. We have been able to secure major partnerships with 382 chiefs (96 females: 286 males) across the districts,”,” he said.

Looking ahead, Businge said Plan International Malawi will work with existing government coordination mechanisms and leading development partners to join the rest of the Malawi community as we deal with the risk of hunger.

Businge said the organisation’s budget to fight hunger in Malawi is estimated at $2 million.

“While we have not yet secured this funding, there are fundraising plans in place that will ensure we secure the required level of funding.

We will also continue to invest in supporting the Government of Malawi strengthen households and community resilience against the social-economic impact of climate change and to break the cycle of food insecurity through our disaster risk management programme,”he said.

A recent Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee report indicates that about 1.06 million people are severely affected by the drought and require immediate food support.

According to the report, the situation is rated, under the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC), as phase 3 which is a crisis level, affecting especially the Southern Region districts of Balaka, Chikwawa, Neno, Phalombe, Dedza and Nsanje with Karonga district being the only IPC3 district located in the North of the country.

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