Through my interaction with children and young people, I have realized that not much is being done by the custodians of our destiny. This is evidenced by the high rates of child abuse cases as manifested in a number of child rights violations like forced child marriages. Parents marry off their daughters for material gains.
Regardless of age, first signs of puberty mark maturity for marriage and in Malawi almost 50% of girls get married before their 18th birthday. This trend, to a greater extent, has accelerated vulnerability of many adolescents. Furthermore, the impact of early child bearing and the accompanying obstetric complications like fistula has greatly affected the health and lives of many girls.
Lately, Malawi has become a favourite spot for child traffickers from within and outside. Children are trafficked for a number of reasons like child labour activities in the agricultural sector. Children are also trafficked for sexual exploitation as they are being recruited in prostitution which seems to be a lucrative business for some unscrupulous individuals.
Furthermore, young people are often challenged by the lack of access to information and services that are vital to their growth and development. For instance, a good number of adolescents are unable to access sexual and reproductive health services.
Consequently, this translates into a bleak future for the next generation due to high levels of social and economic vulnerability. There is need to listen to the voices of children and young people.