MZUZU--A lack of child friendly facilities is a problem in Mzuzu, according to survey conducted recently in the city.
Presenting the report, chairperson of Mzuzu City Child Friendly Initiative Project, Christopher Mhone, said the survey carried out in April this year revealed a lack of designated play grounds for children and inadequate road signs, humps and pedestrian trucks on the city’s roads are some of the causes of road accidents involving children.
He said the survey also established that children are susceptible to diseases because of living conditions.
“The survey has revealed that there is poor access to solid waste disposal facilities and high prevalence of stagnant water during rainy season which create favourable environment for breeding of mosquitoes,” he said.
Mhone said Sonda and Ching’ambo where the survey was conducted have no solid waste collection services provided by the city council which could be the alternative way of offloading cumulative solid waste.
In addition to stagnant water, Ching’ambo has a high water table which affects drinking water due insecure pit latrines which are linked to water sources through underground water.
“Twenty six per cent of the children use unclean and unimproved pit latrines in high water table area of Ching’ambo. The unclean toilets in the high water table areas are contaminating the water sources and this [causes] waterborne disease of cholera, dysentery in addition to sending pungent smell and lack of decency in homes and in the area,” he said.
On youth and community participation, he said most of the respondents indicated that they’d not participated in any of the city council’s development planning though most of the guardians and community based organizations expressed their knowledge on the decentralization processes.
“Most of the community members and community Based organizations in the sites were knowledgeable of decentralization but children were sidelined from the planning processes even at the lowest planning unit of a ward where their views could be heard,” he said.
He said the report revealed that lack of youth participation in decision making positions were detrimental to their development as responsible citizens.
Zindaba Lungu, Mzuzu City Child Friendly Initiative Coordinator who is also the District Social Welfare Officer, said “the survey has been an eye opener to the council as it has revealed the areas of concern by the children not only at Sonda and Ching’ambo alone but even other locations of the city.”
Child Friendly City Initiative is a child centered approach to urban development which is being implemented by the council through its Community and Social Welfare Department in conjunction with Ministry of local Government and Rural Development, Ministry of Women, Gender and Child Development and the United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF).
©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment.