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News release

Majority of Malawians say vulnerable children lack needed support, Afrobarometer survey shows

30 Jan 2023 Malawi
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News release
Key findings
  • A majority of Malawians say that adults in their community do “not very frequently” (47%) or “not at all frequently” (10%) use physical force to discipline children. But more than four in 10 see this as a “somewhat frequent” (18%) or “very frequent” (24%) occurrence (Figure 1).
  • Four in 10 Malawians (41%) say that children in their community are frequently abused, mistreated, or neglected.
  • Only 40% of citizens say children who are victims of abuse or neglect are generally able to receive help in their community. Even fewer say help is available for children with disability (38%) and for children and adults with mental or emotional problems (28%) (Figure 3).
  • More than six in 10 Malawians (62%) say that school-age children are frequently not in school in their community. This perception is more common in rural areas (63%) than in cities (54%). It is also more widespread in the Central region (689%) than the other two regions of the country (56%-57%). The situation is the same regardless of whether the community is patrilineal or matrilineal (Figure 5).

A majority of Malawians say vulnerable children are often unable to obtain needed help and support in their community, according to the latest Afrobarometer survey

Fewer than half of survey respondents say children who are abused or neglected, who are living with disability, or who have mental or emotional problems are generally able to get the help they need.

About four in 10 citizens describe child abuse and neglect as common in their community. A majority say out-of-school children are a frequent occurrence.

Despite these challenges, a majority of Malawians say their government is doing a good job of promoting the well-being of vulnerable children.