Child Protection Worker for Nkhamenya Zone, Frank Banda, has advised couples in Kasungu to bear children they can manage to raise on their own.
Banda said gone are the days when relatives or government would come in to support children whose parents failed to meet their responsibilities and obligations on their offspring.
The Child Protection Worker made the remarks at Lwangwa Full Primary School on Wednesday during a sensitization meeting National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) Public Trust organized in collaboration with the Malawi Law Commission.
With financial support from UNICEF, NICE, and Malawi Law Commission are jointly implementing a Legal Literacy Programme, which aims to increase awareness of gender-related violence.
For the past few days, NICE has been conducting an awareness campaign on child rights in Kasungu, Dedza, Mangochi and Salima districts.
During one of the sessions, parents wondered the government – through the Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare – is failing to provide support to children from poor families.
One of the parents, who said he has seven children, said he is struggling to educate his children because he does not have a reliable source of income.
“Isn’t it the responsibility of the government to look after and educate children who are from poor families?” he asked.
But in his response, Banda emphasized that parents bear the primary responsibility of caring and educating their children.
He said it is high time under-resourced parents adopted family planning methods so that they have a number of children they can raise without depending on external support.
“Let us face the fact! Seven is a huge number of children for underprivileged families. Let us start considering reducing the number of children to four and below,” said Banda.
Primary Education Advisor (PEA) for Kawiya Zone, Mathias Mthunzi, said his office is overwhelmed with financial requests from poor learners.
In his remarks, NICE District Civic Education Officer (DCEO), Pilirani Chaguza, said he was impressed with the progress the programme has made in entrenching the spirit of respect for the rights of children in the districts.
However, Chaguza urged community, traditional leaders, learners and teachers to report any cases of violation of children’s rights to relevant authorities.
“We need to completely root out abuse and violence against children in this districts. Let us utilize suggestion boxes placed in all the schools to report any case of violation of rights for children,” he said.