Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare, Patricia Kaliati says government has reinforced efforts to protect the rights and welfare of children, including street children, in the country.
Kaliati disclosed this yesterday in Parliament when she was presenting a Ministerial statement.
According to Kaliati, government has come up with measures to ensure that children live a better life.
“Let me assure you that we will work hand in hand with other stakeholders to consolidate gains made on children’s welfare.
“My Ministry has come up with strategies for vulnerable children and child protection. The National Plan of Action for Vulnerable Children has six strategic objectives. They all aim to improve vulnerable children’s access to services essential to their survival, protection and development so that they can fully enjoy their rights and develop their full potential, while strengthening the capacities of their families and communities, improving enforcement of policies and legislation, enhancing the technical, institutional and human resource capacity of the country and its social protection system and strengthening leadership and coordination at all levels to reduce the vulnerability of disadvantaged children,” explained Kaliati.
According to the Minister, the plan is to ensure that vulnerable children live in a supportive environment through advocacy, community awareness and mobilization; and should optimize the response to vulnerable children through a well-functioning monitoring and evaluation system that can assess the situation, identify gaps and guide changes.
Kaliati also noted that the country has over 9000 street-connected children and that it has intensified its efforts to remove them from the streets.
“So far over 4000 children have been rehabilitated and integrated into the community and some have been withdrawn from the streets and enrolled in various schools,” said Kaliati.
She also hinted that the Social Cash Transfer programme now targets 15 percent of the vulnerable population from 10 percent to ensure that the well-being children is improved.
“We have a number of interventions, the social cash transfer program, the urban cash intervention which we are putting and also some of the local and international organisations who are supporting us be it in the urban as well as rural areas,” said Kaliati.
She then called upon different stakeholders, organisations as well wishers to support the intervention they have put in place like paying school fees for the 212 vulnerable children who are in different schools and they are lacking fees and and other things.
Kaliati said her Ministry is sending vulnerable children to different vocational training institutions where they are equipped with skills for their survival.
On ending child marriages, Kaliati said her Ministry has developed a number of guidelines to help communities prevent and respond to child marriages.
“The guidelines include: Community Actions Guide on ending child marriage and the Community Awareness Handbook on Child Related Laws. The former aims at giving the communities sustainable prevention and response interventions on ending child marriages. The latter aims at creating awareness on the legal provisions related to child protection so that when communities are implementing their social norms and customs they should do such within the confines of the law in as far as child protection is concerned,” added Kaliati.
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