A high level participation of traditional leaders in strengthening child protection and gender systems has been singled out as a best approach in advancing the well-being of children and women in the country.
Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO) in collaboration with Social Rehabilitation Centre (SRC) on Thursday held an interface meeting with chiefs and block leaders around Lilongwe city to familiarize them with the operations of SRC and YONECO in Lilongwe.
Programme Manager for YONECO Wezzie Mtonga Kamphale said the meeting aimed at soliciting support from the local leaders on SRC activities as well as bridging gaps in child protection and gender systems.
Kamphale said: “We observed that chiefs and block leaders around SRC are not aware of the existence of SRC and services that the facility is providing to protect the wellbeing of marginalized children hence today we engaged them to orient them about SRC and YONECO.”
She urged the local leaders to protect children from all kinds of ill treatments as failure to do so has the potential to force children into ills like prostitution, drug and sexual abuse as well as making them susceptible to child trafficking.
Speaking on behalf of other chiefs and block leaders who attended the meeting, William Banda, a block leader from area 24 admitted that some cases of child abuse are perpetrated by local leaders who should be entrusted with their safety.
“I would like to thank YONECO and SRC for organizing this important meeting it has broaden our knowledge on Child protection and gender issues,” said Banda.
YONECO and Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare signed a memorandum of understanding to work in collaboration at the SRC.