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UNFPA Malawi kickstarts the road to Nairobi process with media as key allies

17 July 2019
Eunice Ndhlovu from Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (centre) makes a point. Malawi's media have made a strong commitment to promoting rights and choices for all. © UNFPA Malawi/Henry Chimbali

LILONGWE, MalawiMedia in Malawi have committed to ensuring the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) agenda is kept in the public domain by writing a greater number of articles about the issues. This was said during a media briefing session in Lilongwe on what has changed since the 1994 Cairo promise. 

UNFPA Malawi convened the media to highlight ‘what has changed’ in Malawi since 1994, as the road to Nairobi starts for Malawi. During the session, UNFPA Malawi presented highlights on the many indicators that have changed; among them, the total fertility rate has declined from 6.7 births per woman in 1992 to 4.4, while the modern contraceptive prevalence rate has jumped from 7 per cent in 1992 to 58 per cent. On the unfinished business, poverty and income inequalities, as well as improving human capital among the youth, remain some of the persistent challenges.

Our engagement with UNFPA and other partners in these issues should not be spontaneous, but on a regular basis and we are always ready to work with you because these issues also affect the same community we work for.

Eunice Ndhlovu, a senior reporter from Malawi Broadcasting Cooperation (MBC), called for consistent collaboration and partnership on ICPD issues if they are to remain high on the public agenda. “Our engagement with UNFPA and other partners on these issues should not be spontaneous, but on a regular basis. We are always ready to work with you because these issues also affect the same community we work for,” she

Kennedy Machira, an economist at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural resources (LUANAR), emphasized in his presentation the benefits of slowing the rapid population growth that Malawi is currently experiencing. By reducing the total fertility rate, resources for investments in the social sector can be used for other development projects. “If we reduce our total fertility rate to 2.3, it means by 2050, Malawi will need require 371 fewer hospitals than if the current total fertility is maintained,” he said.

If we reduce our total fertility rate to 2.3 (births per woman), it means by 2050, Malawi will need require 371 fewer hospitals than if the current total fertility is maintained.

Won Young Hong, UNFPA Representative for Malawi, requested deliberate policies to invest in human capital, especially in young people. “We must move away from the traditional way of thinking of building skills and knowledge among the young people. Technology must drive our policy on skills building among the young people of Malawi, because this is how other countries are doing it and we must not seem to lag behind,” she said.

The newly constituted National Planning Commission's Director-General, Dr. Thomasi Munthali, explained the current envisioning process for Malawi, which underlies the fundamental principles of wealth creation, linked largely to population growth.

More than 20 media personnel attended the meeting. Malawi's ICPD launch is to take place in August at LUANAR campus, with more than six hundred young people expected to attend.

- Henry Chimbali