UNICEF Uses Qur'an to Defend Malawi Kids

UNICEF and the Malawi government are promoting the use of the Noble Qur'an and the Bible to ensure that children's fundamental rights to survival and development are achieved and attainable for the majority of children in the southern African country.

UNICEF Uses Qur'an to Defend Malawi Kids

UNICEF and the Malawi government are promoting the use of the Noble Qur'an and the Bible to ensure that children's fundamental rights to survival and development are achieved and attainable for the majority of children in the southern African country.

"The initiative seeks to ensure survival and development of children where we believe the faith community takes the leading role," Ida Girma, UNICEF country representative, told IslamOnline.net.

"Children are mostly exposed to religious teachings and it is our wish that they also acquire necessary information about their survival from Madrasahs or Sunday school."

This program is aimed at using the holy books in developing communication packages on accelerated child survival and development, prevention of mother to child transmission of the HIV and social sanitation.

The project, being coordinated by the Malawi Interfaith AIDS Association, focuses on 12 out of the country's 28 districts.

Muslims from over 2,500 mosques, Catholic Christians from 7 dioceses in 142 parishes, Protestant Christians in 22 member churches and Protestant Christians in 36 member churches will participate.

"We need to maximize the potential of the faith community," said Health Minister Marjorie Ngaunje.

"It already has unique and outstanding character of communication materials that it is the first time this has happened in Malawi."

Welcomed

Organizers hope the program would help to avert preventable and curable diseases.

"Child deaths as a result of preventable and curable diseases can be prevented by scaling up efforts of different structures and the faith community is undoubtedly one of the most important one," Girma stressed.

"It is our hope that this program would reduce child deaths from 984 per 100 thousand to 73 deaths by the year 2020."

The program has been received well by faith leaders.

"It is a global trend that we are now shifting towards faith involvement on matters of social concern," said Pastor Francis Mkandawire of the Evangelical Association of Malawi.

"The faith community is effective when it comes to the issues of child survival."

He said that the church realizes the fact that care for children is a God-given right.

"It's undisputable that most people are committed to save in the way of God. For instance, most people volunteer and devout their time and money on faith events which makes it free of any budgetary strains and sustainable."

Sheikh Mohammad Osman, secretary general of the Majlis Ulama Council of Malawi and a trustee of the Malawi Interfaith AIDS Association, agrees.

"We have always taught these things in madrasahs but this project will give us courage to emphasize and amplify the messages," he told IOL.

Osman added that madrasahs across the country are instrumental in aspects such as education and health, hence their perpetual effectiveness.

"The first thing children are taught at madrasah is hygiene – etiquettes of taharah [purity] and wudu' [ablution], for example," he noted.

"This could effectively help in the prevention of diseases."

Islam is the second largest religion in Malawi after Christianity.

Official statistics suggest they constitute 12 percent of the 12 million population but the Muslim Mother body Muslim Association of Malawi say they are over 36 percent.

IOL

Last Mod: 27 Ağustos 2007, 00:07
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