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- Hilma Hashange
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Namibia’s National Agenda for Children (NAC) 2012-2016 aims to achieve key child development outcomes as defined in the Millennium Developments Goals and Vision 2030. The agenda, formed under the auspices of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, was launched on 15 June by the Hon. Prime Minister, Nahas Angula, as part of the commemorations of the African Child Day.
The NAC 2012-2016, which was developed through a consultative process in 2011, highlights priority programmes that are critical for the welfare of children and focuses on the results that must be achieved in the next five years. The agenda, organised around five priority commitments and fifteen key results, recognises the need for government and the different line ministries and civil society organisations, to collaborate and collectively coordinate their efforts to achieve the intended results. The roots of the five national Commitments within the Agenda lie in the principles of universality, non-discrimination, individuality and participation as underlined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Although the Government caters to all children, much needs to be done to address problems of disabled children, according to the Prime Minister. Currently 3773 children living with disabilities are receiving grants from the Ministry of Gender Equality and 9 special schools exist throughout the country. However Angula urged the need for scaling up the training, support and resource allocation to these special schools. “The ultimate goal is to ensure that the quality of our children’s lives is improved and Namibia becomes a model of a child-friendly society,” Angula said.
He outlined the many challenges that children face. He stated that the Namibian child is at risk because most are malnourished, orphaned and homeless. He stated that the height of almost 30% of Namibian children under the age of five does not match their age, 20% of school-going age are not attending school regularly and many others live in fear of domestic violence and are often exposed to the danger of infection with HIV. “Namibia does actually have programmes to address these needs. What is needed therefore is that such programmes are implemented with much greater energy, commitment and resources,” Angula stated.
The strategic focus of the Agenda has shifted towards a more comprehensive national response with the emphasis on building systems and strengthening national and local capacities and partnerships. Key priorities identified earlier by children through the 2011 Children’s Parliament were integrated into the plan to ensure children’s voices are heard and acted upon.
The document is available at the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare as well as on the ministry’s website.
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