By Pemphero Musowa

Non-Government Organisation Coalition (NGO CCR) has called on President Peter Mutharika to speed up assenting the National Children’s Commission Bill.

The bill was passed by Parliament on March 7 and will be a statutory body to ensure multi-sectoral coordination and cooperation among stakeholders by providing child related services.

The Commission will also that ensure laws, policies, programmes and administrative mechanisms are properly implemented in consonance with child rights instruments such as United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

The Commission will play the role of advisor of children affairs–from policy formulation and implementation to budgetary allocation; from treaty body reporting to child focus law forms.

The operationalisation of the much anticipated National Children’s Commission cannot, therefore be over emphasised.

The timing is also very much favourable as the country strives to overcome some enormous challenges facing children across the country.

Desmond Mhango, chairperson for NGO CCR said they believe the NCC will help Malawi in her quest to gain deeper to communities and households and enhanced synergies in addressing challenges children face among the many children-focused organisations.

“We are confident that President Mutharika will assent to the bill. We believe in his commitment to Youth and Children of Malawi,” he said.

Mhango said the coming in of the bill will translate into practice the desire to reach out to all Malawian children with necessary services while eliminating widespread societal tolerance of violation of children’s rights.

Mhango said they visualize a moment where a child rights based perspective will flow into the national policies and programs along with nuanced responses at the national, regional and district levels courtesy of the National Children’s Commission.

In an interview with the press, NGO National Coordinator Henry Machemba said last week the bill was still at the office of the Clerk of parliament where necessary internal processes were still take place.

Macheba said the whole process takes up to 60 days by law and it expires on May 6 to which the State House has to give feedback on why the bill was not assented to.

The Coordinator said he was confident Mutharika will put the bill into law saying this will be a great achievement for the Malawian child.

He said once passed into law, NCC will ensure that the advocacy work they have been doing taken further: “This will encourage us to engage further advocacy, ensuring the relevant administrations especially the Ministry of Gender, Children Disability and Social Welfare are putting the child’s needs first.”

He added that the bill will help to coordinate the advocacy of all organizations working to solve issues that children face in the country.

“It will empower us to make sure the systems are working properly as well as make sure government has resources.”

He said: “We want to make sure there is investment in the children. That is why when this bill is passed we will lobby that the next budget has more preliminary spending on children’s rights.”

Machemba said this bill once assent to will be a big authority to hold government and other institution, systems, even international organization accountable in the way they handle issues to deal with child rights protected.

Source ; Kulinji Online

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