How Archdiocese in Malawi is Propagating Catholic Bishops’ Child Safeguarding Policy

Sr. Teresa Mulenga conducting a workshop at Chaminade Marianist Secondary School on Thursday, September 7. Credit: Sr. Mulenga.

The Archdiocese of Lilongwe in Malawi has taken deliberate initiatives to implement the Child and Vulnerable Adults Safeguarding Policy, which members of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) adopted in 2021.

In an interview with ACI Africa, the Secretary of the Lilongwe Archdiocesan Safeguarding Committee explained how the ECM policy is being implemented in the Metropolitan See, including conducting workshops in learning institutions and Parishes, training children, and providing content on the policy to Catholic media forums.

“The target of Lilongwe Archdiocese is to ensure that the dissemination of information about the policy gets to every institution of the Archdiocese including health and learning facilities and also Parishes,” Sr. Teresa Mulenga said during the September 9 interview.

Credit: Lilongwe Archdiocesan Safeguarding Committee

Sr. Mulenga added, “We have so far been able to reach mostly Parishes and Small Christian Communities and also some of the learning institutions through workshops.”


The member of the Sisters of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus (Teresian Sisters) said they have the objective to reach more learning institutions in Lilongwe Archdiocese, having started off with a one-day workshop at Chaminade Marianist Secondary School.

Credit: Lilongwe Archdiocesan Safeguarding Committee

In Catholic Parishes, she said, they have targeted members of the Clergy, women and men Religious, and other pastoral agents, including Catechists. 

Equipping pastoral agents with the information in the ECM Child and Vulnerable Adults Safeguarding Policy can go a long way in countering the increasing cases of abuse of minors and vulnerable adults in Malawi, Sr. Mulenga said.

Credit: Lilongwe Archdiocesan Safeguarding Committee

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She added, “In each Parish, we have also trained four local Christians that include men, women and the youth because these are the ones expected to go to the Small Christian Communities (SCCs) and outstations to disseminate the information.”

The Malawian Catholic Nun who also assists in the office of Communication of Teresian Sisters identified animators of the Pontifical Missionary Children (PMC) in the Malawian Catholic Archdiocese as target beneficiaries of their ECM Policy initiative. 

Credit: Lilongwe Archdiocesan Safeguarding Committee

The Secretary of the Lilongwe Archdiocesan Safeguarding Committee who doubles as Program Coordinator of the African Sisters Education Collaborative (ASEC) in Malawi explained how the content of the policy is shared during the physical meetings, as well as in Catholic media entities, which include Radio Alinafe of the Archdiocese of Lilongwe, Luntha television, and the Association of Catholic Journalists.

“We start by sharing with them the crucial meaning of what is in the policy such as the meaning of terms like harassment, violence, the definition of who is a child and (vulnerable) adult," Sr. Mulenga said.


Credit: Lilongwe Archdiocesan Safeguarding Committee

She added, “We also explain to them the different forms of harassment and how to identify them. We also teach them how to report in case of abuse.”

In the ongoing awareness initiative, Sr. Mulenga said the goal is to “make sure that all the institutions in the Archdiocese are aware of the policy and also implementing and following the guidelines therein.”

Credit: Lilongwe Archdiocesan Safeguarding Committee

The Catholic Nun who holds a Bachelor's Degree in Education lamented that some of the perpetrators of abuse of minor and vulnerable adults are family members, in some cases biological parents and/or caregivers. 

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The abuse of children and vulnerable adults is deeply rooted in Malawian cultures, some people having normalized abusive acts, she further lamented, adding that the abuse of vulnerable adults that targets senior citizens happens because old age in Malawi is associated with witchcraft.

Sr. Mulenga also said that some abuses, especially that of vulnerable adults, relate to property.

Credit: Lilongwe Archdiocesan Safeguarding Committee

She said the awareness about the ECM Child and Vulnerable Adults Safeguarding Policy is having a positive impact on beneficiaries, especially those who have “understood (it) well”.

“In some Parishes where the policy is understood well, it is bearing fruits; there is protection of children especially those taking part in the liturgy,” the Teresian Sister said, adding that senior citizens have earned respect because the policy provides guidelines for their care.

Members of the Safeguarding Committee after training by Episcopal Conference team. Credit: Lilongwe Archdiocesan Safeguarding Committee

Other institutions in Malawi can adopt the policy or develop their own, Sr. Mulenga said about the ECM Child and Vulnerable Adults Safeguarding Policy that was formulated in collaboration with Malawi’s ministry of gender, the police unit, and some Christians denominations in the Southern African nation.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.