First Lady Monica Chakwera has said cyberbullying and harassment are negatively affecting the girl child; hence, proper measures have to be taken to protect them from such abuse.
She made the remarks in Lilongwe on Friday during the commemoration of this year’s International Day of the Girl Child celebrated under the theme ‘My voice, our equal future.’
Chakwera commended various stakeholders such as Plan Malawi for safeguarding the rights of the girl child to enhance development in the country.
Said Chakwera: “We have heard stories where girls have committed suicide due to thepressure that cyber-bullying has infringed on them. As Malawians, it is our duty to protect a girl child from any kind of abuse. Let us hold hands in making sure that girls have equal opportunities as boys and that we give them all they need to complete their education and become independent in future.”
Upon accepting an ambassador on ending child marriages in the country, The First Lady said time has come for Malawians to end child marriages.
Plan Malawi International country director Phoebe Kasoga said they want to advance children’s rights and equality for girls; hence, their target to reach 3.2 million girls in Malawi between 2017 and 2022.
“We have worked with the Ministry of Gender to address the topical issue of the escalating numbers of child marriages and teenage pregnancies. We also did research on cyberbullying and online harassment where we found that out of 14 071 girls across 31 countries in the world, one in five girls, have left or significantly reduced the use of social media after being harassed,” she said.
During the event, traditional leaders Senior Chief Kachindamoto, Inkosi ya Makhosi M’Mbelwa and Senior Chief Bwananyambi were presented with plaques for being ambassadors in ending child marriage.
Speaker of the National Assembly Catherine Gotani Hara and her deputies were recognised as ambassadors in girls education whereas Mary Chilima, spouse to the Vice-President of Malawi, was crowned ambassador in the fight against cyberbullying and harassment.