By Lulutani Tembo, UNICEF Malawi
UNICEF has donated 500 bicycles to the Malawi Police Service to address mobility challenges in community policing. Community policing groups walk long distances to report cases of violence to police. The donation of the bicycles will make it easier for them to raise awareness in communities on the prevention of violence and respond faster to reported cases of violence. Moreover, the bicycles are expected help to increase provision of services to victims of violence.
Community Policing Groups are also a key component of the emergency response in Malawi. The bicycles will be allocated to 14 emergency prone districts. Inspector General of the Malawi Police, Lexton Kachama who received the bicycles on behalf of the Malawi Police Service said “women and children in emergency situations are more vulnerable to violence. The bicycles will therefore enhance violence prevention efforts in these areas” .
Violence against children is a serious problem in Malawi. Studies from the 2013 Violence against Children and Young Women Study shows that 2 out of 3 Malawians experience violence. Additionally 1 in 5 girls are sexually abused before the age of 18 and 2 out of 3 boys suffered physical violence before the age of 18.
With support from key partners such as UK Aid and USAID, UNICEF works with the Government of Malawi to protect girls and boys from all forms of violence, in both humanitarian and development contexts. Protecting children from violence is not only ethical, but also life-saving and an important investment in reducing negative and lifelong impacts on children’s well-being and development. UNICEF has also supported the Malawi Police Service to institutionalize and professionalize child protection within the service and ensure prevention and response to violence against children and women while realizing access to justice for women and children.