Malawi commemorates the 2016 World Population Day

2 August 2016
UNFPA Rep, Dan Odallo welcomes Virginia Palmer, US Ambassador in Malawi during the WPD event

Lilongwe- Malawi celebrated the 2016 World population day with the Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social welfare, Dr. Jean Kalilani calling for an end to child marriages, sexual harassment, school dropouts and eliminating harmful cultural practices. The event was celebrated with the theme “Investing in teenage girls” in a community where tremendous progress to end child marriages and promotion of girls education has been recorded. Senior Chief Kachindamoto from the area has been a stalwart champion and an advocate of ending child marriages for a long time and has seen more girls going back to school and child marriages outlawed. In her speech, the Minister called on development partners to support Government in its programmes that promote gender equality as well girl’s education.

“It is sad that a high percentage of girls in our communities are married off whilst young while others drop out of school. We must all prevent such things happening and we should all take an example from Senior Chief Kachindamoto for his passion towards eliminating any kind of abuse towards girls” said Dr. Jean Kalilani.

Speaking earlier, UNFPA Representative, Dan Odallo emphasized the importance of keeping girls in school as a means to empower women and girls. He also called upon parents to be on the frontline to encourage their children, both boys and girls to remain in school. “We should recognize that when a teenage girl has the power, the means and the information to make her own decisions in life, she is more likely to overcome obstacles that stand between her and a healthy, productive future. This will benefit her, her family and her community: But when she has no say in decisions about her education, health, work or even marital status, she may never realize her full potential or become a positive force for transformation in her home, community and nation” he said

The event was characterised by many events including testimonies from Emily Yonasi and Catherine Malichi from Ntaka-taka Community Day Secondary school who had previously dropped out of school but are now back in school due to UNFPA supported programmes on promoting girls education.

The US Ambassador to Malawi Her Excellency Virginia Palmer also attended the event and encouraged girls to remain in school and stay focussed on their future.

World Population Day is a yearly event that falls on 11th July and aims at highlighting the need for concerted efforts to address challenges that affect the global population and create a better platform for advocacy.