Mwanawa Vikililike, Child protection, Mwanawa Vikililike, Child protection, Bringing light to communities, Ungweru Ungweru! 

This slogan was used by Team Lupya who have worked with partner organisation Ungweru to deliver child protection sessions, tackling issues such as education, peer pressure and child rights. Sessions were delivered in seven different primary schools within Mzuzu. 

Many children within the city do not have the same access to education as children in England. Some cannot afford school fees while others sacrifice going to school so they can work enabling them to generate an income to help their families. Team Lupya tackled this problem by dedicating time to talk about the importance of education and peer pressure which the students may have to deal with. The sessions involved role plays highlighting the positive and negative effects of peer pressure students can face while at school, and a talk delivered on how education can help brighten a child’s future. A teacher from St Augustine Primary School commented saying that ‘Many children here in Malawi drop out of school at the age of thirteen and fourteen and do not finish. The reasons for this are wide ranging depending on the family situation. Sessions delivered on education are a priority for children to understand the importance of staying in school’.

A difficult subject the team also dealt with was child’s rights. Team Lupya was able to deliver an informative session to the children. A child’s rights in Malawi include ‘a right to a name, a right to education and a right to freedom’. To ensure that the children understood this sensitive topic the team picked volunteers in each session to deliver role plays on child rights. Children were invited to identify key problems that arose within the role plays which they believed a child should not have to face. Role plays were used such as ‘a group of children are playing a game and a child infected with HIV wants to come and join the game. The other children say that he is not allowed to play because he has HIV’. At the very end of the session the team explained the importance of child’s rights and where children can go for help. Each session was well received in each primary school and within two weeks these sessions were delivered to 2, 362 children. Something which Team Lupya will never forget!

Annabel Robinson UK Volunteer for Progressio commented saying ‘The sessions seemed to impact the students at the local primary schools which was an overwhelming experience for every member of Team Lupya. I cannot honestly believe the number of children we managed to deliver sessions to in just two short weeks’. 

Written by ICS volunteer Charlotte Kennedy 

Photography by ICS volunteer Tom Stinchcombe