Child Poverty Report Irks CSOs

Some Civil Society Organisations in northern region Wednesday expressed reservations over child poverty report which stated that northern region has fewer number of deprived children compared to Southern and Central regions of the country.

During presentation of the 2018 Child Poverty Report in Malawi, an official from National Statistical Office (NSO), Twika Mwalwanda, indicated that the study focused on access to education, housing, sanitation and nutrition among others.

He said northern region has about 31 per cent of children deprived in education while south and central regions have 37 and 40 per cent respectively.

Mwalwanda further said 59 per cent and 50 per cent of children in the south and central regions respectively, are deprived of housing while in the north less than 40 per cent of the children are deprived of housing.

In response to the report, Northern region civil society network vice chairperson, Happy Mhango, questioned if the findings reflected what is on the ground.

Mhango said it was surprising to hear that northern region has few numbers of deprived children while most schools were in deplorable condition and pupils travel longer distances from home.

He also bemoaned a big teacher-to-pupil ratio in most primary schools which is higher than the required 1:60.

“This might sound sweet news yes, but such news denies us resources,” said Mhango.

In response, Deputy Commissioner for NSO, Jameson Ndawala, said though statistically northern region seemed to be doing fine, the figures in all three regions were alarming.

“It is only low when you compare the regions, otherwise we would have wished there was no child in poverty,” said Ndawala.

He said a lot needs to be done by all sectors, including the CSOs to reduce child poverty which is at 60 per cent nationally. Ndawala added that what NSO presented was data that needed further analysis.

He, however, collaborated the report with other reports such as the one on education literacy which rates Rumphi district the best in the country with 90 per cent.