Mother and Child Rights

Comprehensive and appropriate development for effective results
 “Train a child in the way he should go: and when he is old he will not turn from it”    The Bible, Proverbs, ch. 22, v.6  
“Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world’    Nelson Mandela

A Demographic Health Survey of Malawi in 2004 has shown, even with school enrolments quite low, that the education sector represents the most effective way to reach a large proportion of children and young people to inform them of ways to avoid HIV infection.
 Our work at MaC Rights aims to provide comprehensive support for children in school so that modern expectations of people are recognised, with the prevalence of HIV and other disease even lower.

      the education sector is a channel for promoting HIV awareness to a large audience or readership.
      not only can teachers, administrators and pupils at all levels be reached, but parents and other family   members in addition.
      for maximum impact, governments need a strong commitment to appropriate sexual health and rights  awareness programmes.
     similar attitudes toward young girls are clearly relevant for all societies.

 Comprehensive interactive education  is preferred by trained teachers, aiming for confidence in the children, so that they know what they need in life and what they are entitled to.

Such education has begun in Malawi, but needs to be available for all schools and every child.
Their rights education also helps their studies, bullying is reduced and teachers enjoy their work more easily.
Mutual respect between teachers and pupils develops, so behaviour in society improves for everyone.
This initiative introduced by UNICEF, is known at schools in Scotland as “Rights Respecting”, or in Malawi as “Child Friendly”.
When introduced in Scotland and England these schools were shown to be effective. (UNCRC)

“Negative cultural influences”. The recently retired President of Malawi, Her Excellency Joyce Banda, has voiced her opinion of some behaviour within the culture of her country that can be identified as being unfortunate.

Many beliefs surrounding antenatal care and childbirth are strongly influenced by local culture, often increasing the risk of maternal and child mortality. For example, 

  • some women fear travelling to hospital for delivery due to a belief that ‘spirits’ might control foetal health in transit.
  • responses to maternal or infant death also frequently reflect cultural beliefs.
  • a mother who gives birth to a stillborn baby might be considered by her husband to be adulterous.
         Education should be able to counter such beliefs.

Local School Children.

A final draft for a research paper for the Malawian Educational Policy in 2010, showed that a proportion of children are abused by teachers, causing girls to discontinue education and creating a potential route for HIV and pregnancy. Alternatively, poverty, family illness, chronically ill or absent parents, mean that older girls often drop out of school to earn income or assist the parents at home or on the land.

Disruption of Education.
Other research in sub Saharan Africa has shown that there is a need to assess the impact of HIV on children’s education since the record keeping for children’s and teachers’ attendance is poor and when death occurs the cause is not clearly known. But
  • teachers are often absent because of illness or attendance at funerals, so leaving children without regular education.
  • schools may close because of inefficiency, so pupils have farther to travel each day, so increasing the risk of sexual exploitation of schoolgirls. 
  •  information on the children’s attendance, dates or reasons for absence, are not so well recorded. 
  • family incomes fall, so schooling has less priority, compromising girls’ education even further.             

SRHR   separate page:  More about contraception: understanding ovulation and implantation, etc