Governance Curriculum/Child Rights

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Rights of The Child in the Community - Draft Concept Note - Embargoed until Approval by Steering Committee


Progressive well-being of children in Malawi


Local government authorities, service providers, parents, schools, and community members that understand child rights and perform and demand correlative duties


1: Implemented community action points for child well-being

2. Implemented child rights-responsive district development plans

3. Ongoing Masters course on child rights for policy makers, development workers, and justice practitioners


Child rights have special significance. The future belongs to the next generation, but the quality of their future and their capacity to reach their potential depends upon the removal of significant impediments to their safety and development. The extent to which the interest of children are safeguarded is one of the most basic tests of the integrity of any generation and legitimacy of any socio-economic system. Present decision-makers owe the next generation a particular duty to safeguard and protect their long term interests, and to facilitate and optimise not only safety, health, nutrition, education standards but their moral, social and spiritual development.

Children in Malawi are a particularly vulnerable group owing to a range of circumstances that place them at risk, including poverty, HIV/AIDS, child labour practices, domestic violence, increasing lack of parental guidance and proper care, weaknesses in the juvenile justice systems, and child trafficking networks.

Children are nurtured in relatively small family, community, educational and religious environments. It is therefore at these levels that the well-being of children can be addressed most effectively. Community leaders have considerable influence over the forms and quality of support provided to children and it is this audience that the Programme is directed. The Child Rights Project will employ community mobilisation methods to sensitise and motivate communities and their leaders at district and village level to ensure that due care and attention is given to this particularly vulnerable group.

Implementation Activities

  • Development of Learning Materials: The University of Malawi, in collaboration with partners from the University of Cambridge and the Governance Curriculum Initiative (GCI) will develop materials, based on current baseline data on child rights in Malawi.
  • Training of Facilitators and Implementation of Community Action Points: The developed materials will be used by the a leading community moblisation organisation to train trainers, facilitators, and animators who will work with local groups and people to increase understanding on child rights and correlative duties and agree on iterative community plans and action points to advance child well-being in an area.
  • Incorporation of Community Demands into District Development Plans: Selected action points on service delivery and community capacity development will be chanelled to local government authorities at the district level for incorporation into district development plans.
  • Input into a Masters Degree. The Faculty of Law at the University of Malawi is developing a masters degree on the realisation of child rights, which will use the experience from this project as it trains potential policy-makers, development workers, and justice practitioners on child well-being.

History of the Project

The vision for the Project comes from Professor Garton Kamchedzera, Professor of Law, University of Malawi, based on his experience as Head of Social Policy Advocacy and Communications at UNICEF Malawi, and based on extensive field research carried out with colleagues at the University of Malawi. Additional methodological input has come from the Commonwealth of Learning in Vancouver.

Professor Kamchedzera will coordinate efforts with UNICEF and with University of Malawi faculty members and researchers to develop appropriate curriculum content for dissemination. A local community mobilisation organisation will be employed to organise and facilitate community based activities by training local trainers/animators who in turn will facilitate community-based discussion forums training sessions.