UNICEF Malawi, Religions for Peace and the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities held the second WorkRock of the Faith and Positive Change for Children Global Initiative on Social Behavior Change (FPCC). The partners gathered for five days to discuss and work for change for children. The opening ceremony on Monday included remarks from Rudolf Schwenk, UNICEF Country Representative who stated that UNICEF wants to develop specific calls to action to end child marriage with power and authority of faith leaders…wish for a safe and supportive environment within churches, mosques and places of worship for other faiths.
LET THEM DREAM – Wati Nungu
I remember conversing with a 5 year old little girl
Who wanted to know what colors make up the rainbow?
And this is what I told her
I told her that each one of her dreams is the color that paints the skies
And that she is a seed of light
So when she blooms she must do so with no apology
She needed to believe that the dreams in her belly deserve to be born
And see the light of the day
But this is what I was afraid of telling her
That by the time she is 9
She will begin to get crooked stares from
Men old enough to father her
And comments such as
Mwanayu koma nde akukula bwino
By the time she is 13,
She will be told that her dreams do not serve God’s purpose
That she was created only to manufacture babies
And to serve her master
They will murder her dreams
And force her into marriage
There will be nothing godly or heavenly about the way that she screams
You are hurting me (repeat 2 times)
Mukundipweteka (repeat 2 times)
But they will not care
As long as their ego and lust are satisfied
When she fights back,
She will tell be told sshh
Do you not know that this man is rich?
He is will take us out of poverty
This is the way of tradition
Do not fight the ways of those who came before you
And you will be silent
Because well, it is not your daughter,
Not your sister, not your niece
When are we going to learn?
That the man that has the power to do something
Yet does nothing
Is just as guilty as the culprit
When are we going to learn,
That we throw ourselves deeper into the darkness
Every time we murder the dreams of these little seeds of lights?
We owe it to this nation
We owe it to them
To let them dream
The PAC also signed a communique which details action steps for the initiative in Malawi. The event helped to build action plans for efforts to tackle issues related to child protection, especially child marriage. Partners gained new perspective of working for/with children to dig deeper into social norms and practices.