The role and experience of local faith leaders in promoting child protection: a case study from Malawi
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Eyber, C., Kachale, B., Shields, T. & Ager, A. (2018) The role and experience of local faith leaders in promoting child protection: a case study from Malawi. Intervention, 16 (1), pp. 31-37.
Frequently, community based strategies include engagement with local faith leaders. However, there have been few systematic attempts to document how faith leaders themselves define their roles in these initiatives. This study examined local faith leaders and their spouses, in flood affected areas of Malawi, who had been oriented to child protection issues through World Vision workshops aimed explicitly at relating protection concerns to religious teachings. Many participants reported that attending a workshop had been transformational in terms of their perspectives regarding the protection of children. The key child protection issues identified by participants included child marriage, lack of attendance at school, child labour (including forced labour), harsh physical punishment and sexual abuse. Many faith leaders - and their wives - became active in addressing child protection issues as a result of the programme, although the form of this action varied widely and was significantly influenced by their varied status and capacities.