The Catholic Health and Communication Commission of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) organized one-day training to Catholic Secretariat staff members on the institutions’ child safeguarding standards.

The training which took place on Saturday 27, February at Msamba Pastoral Center, was attended by the ECM staff members.

ECM Head of Education Commission who is also heading the ECM Child Protection Office Br Pascal Mtuwana said the training was organized with the aim of ensuring that staff members should have the knowledge of Child Abuse Prevention, Identification, and Reporting Procedures.

“Child safeguarding is a role that must be played by every organization so as to ensure the safety of children and staff members from various departments at ECM have roles and responsibilities in safeguarding children; the more vulnerable a child is, the greater the chance of them being exposed to risk,” said Br Mtuwana.

Br Mtuwana encouraged the ECM Staff members to always report all cases of child abuse whenever witnessed.

“As a staff member at Episcopal Conference of Malawi, it is your duty to report any case of child abuse in order to create a friendly environment for all vulnerable children. If a staff Member of ECM stays quiet after noting a case of child abuse happening somewhere, she or he will be punished for acting against the Catholic faith and violating ECM code of conduct,” he explained.

Br Mtuwana added that there is a need to join hands in protecting children at a time when there are increasing cases of child abuse, affecting them spiritually and physically in the country.

Br Mtuwana also encouraged parents who are keeping orphans to treat them equally with their own children. “There are some people who discriminate children who are orphans or relatives and this affects their self-esteem and is bad to a child,  I therefore encourage all of you to treat all children at home equally and encourage others to do the same,” he added.

Williams Mponda, one of the staff members at Episcopal Conference of Malawi appreciated the Health and Communication Commission for conducting the training saying it has given knowledge of the many forms of child abuse.

“I used to think that beating a child is a proper way of disciplining them, but this training has proved me wrong, I now understand the effects that this may bring to the child and the importance of reporting child abuse cases, and I will today start to apply what I have learnt,” said Mponda.

According to Catholic Church policy, a child is anyone who is below the age of 18.