Egmont Trust - Malawi
Supporting children in Malawi
The Egmont Trust supports inspirational grassroots organisations that alleviate the devastating impact of HIV & AIDS on vulnerable children and their families in sub-Saharan Africa. The Egmont Trust has previously supported LICO on two projects. Based in the rural north of Malawi, LICO focuses on mothers-to-be and young women to help prevent the occurrence of mother to child HIV transmission.
Child sexual abuse is a huge problem in Malawi, exacerbated by local beliefs and a culture of silence within communities. Many abused children tell no one about it and the majority of cases go unreported to the authorities. Cultural practices intensify the problem of child sexual abuse, for example, there is a belief that is a man has sex with a child he will be cured of HIV.
According to a 2011 report by UNICEF, just 3 per cent of sexually abused children aged 12 to 18 in Malawi reported their abuse to the authorities, while an estimated 55 per cent told no one about it. If a case is reported, there is a serious lack of capacity and coordination in the handling by the relevant authorities such as hospital, police and courts, this usually leads to the case being dropped. Leaders within these authorities are aware of the magnitude of the problem in the district and have expressed a great deal of support for this project.
Rumphi district has been experiencing a particularly high level of child sexual abuse in 2015 due to the recent bad harvest, at the time of writing, 38 cases have been recorded by Rumphi police and are now being supported by LICO. EduToy project with its specific counselling and education techniques is based on methods developed by Operation Bobbi Bear, a highly successful project that has been running in South Africa.
The project will be implemented in Rumphi District targeting approximately 10,000 children below 18 years of age. This project will be the first of its kind in Malawi with its comprehensive approach covering all aspects of this complicated issue. It will focus on creating awareness in schools and communities, supporting abused children through counselling, following up of cases, coordinating stakeholders to support children within their communities and creating a conducive environment for abused children, particularly at the hospital.