Making the invisible visible: An Enumeration of Children on the Streets in Malawi

In a effort to address the lack of information on the number of children living and working on the streets in Malawi; Retrack, Chisomo Children’s club and the Malawi Ministry of Gender, Children Disability and Social Welfare just released a new enumeration report on Street Children in Malawi, Titled “Making the invisible visible: An Enumeration of Children on the Streets in Malawi”

The study to estimates the number of children living and working in the streets in Lilongwe to be 2,389 and in Blantyre to be 1,776; this is based on children reporting or being observed to sleep or work on the streets or other public locations. In addition the study found that only 1 in 5 children on the streets is a girl and only 10% are sleeping on the streets - that’s around 200 children in each city -  most children return home to family. Click here to read the full report.

Some of the key recommendations from this study are:

  • Focusing on reducing child labour and strengthening families in urban settings

  • Improving outreach and avoiding unnecessary family separation and criminalisation

  • Ensuring services are individualised

  • Building capacity for reintegration and alternative care with local follow-up support

  • Increasing specific support for children involved in sex work and those affected by disability

  • Ensuring national coordination and monitoring of all activities which benefit children on the streets

  • Advocating for and pursuing alignment of national policy and legislation

In many countries in Eastern and Southern Africa, children living in the streets don’t have access to HIV services.

The RIATT-ESA time to step up call to action highlights the importance of child friendly services, and the need to prioritize the implementation of adolescent-friendly comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and HIV services, as well as the need to Provide HIV-Sensitive Social Protection Services.