United Nations Population Fund Agency (UNFPA) has said most policies in the country fail to yield intended results because the youth are left out during the formulation process.
Speaking last week at the launch of the ‘Safeguard Young People’programme in Mchinji, UNFPA acting resident representative Rogaia Abdelraim observed that most plans and legal frameworks in the country tend to fail to work because “they ignore the youth for whom such policies are designed”.
Abdelraim said they decided to launch the programme after noting that child marriages are still rampant in the country.
“Actually, child marriages in Malawi are currently increasing at 50 percent and this is the main contributing factor for the country’s high maternal mortality rate, which is one of the highest in the sub-Saharan region,” said Abdelraim.
National programme specialist for reproductive health and youth, Jean Mwandira, said there is need to harmonise the voices of politicians and those of the societies at large.
Mwandira cited the delay by Parliament to pass the Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Bill.
“For instance, politicians proposed 16 as the minimum age for one to get married with their parental consent, but the girls themselves want it to be at 21 so that they pursue education first,” said Mwandira.
She said the overall goal of the programme — to be implemented in Malawi, Lesotho, Zambia, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Swaziland — is to scale up existing youth programmes at both country and regional levels with support from the Swiss Development Corporation (SDC).