Children's lives have not yet improved - Unicef
06 April 2021 | Local News
Namibia is among many African countries where children’s lives have not improved despite economic growth reported over the years, United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) country representative Rachel Odede has said.
Odede indicated that there are many reasons why children’s lives have not improved, including periodic natural disasters, budgetary pressures, capacity constraints, patterns of resource distribution, conflict and insecurity as well as the continued impact of the HIV epidemic.
She was speaking recently at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the National Assembly and Unicef aimed to, among others, encourage proactive citizen engagement that will ensure the voices, opinions and lived experiences of children and adolescents are heard to influence the formulation of policy and legislation.
The MoU further aims to strengthen and support the institutional capacity of Parliament, to ensure that staff members and members of Parliament are actively and continuously capacitated to deliver on their respective mandates.
“We are aware that our children face a mix of vulnerabilities including child poverty, violence at home and multiple deprivations that are putting many families and community structures under pressure,” she said, adding that these vulnerabilities are exacerbated through inequities.
“It is common reality that a child’s survival and development chances are very much dependent on where and in which family that child was born, rural or urban, poor family or not poor, from a marginalised or disadvantaged ethnic group, religious or other group, whether the child is a girl or a boy and so on,” Odede added.
She said it is for this reason that Unicef is partnering with the National Assembly to ensure that the implementation of child-friendly policies trickles down to the most vulnerable children in society.
Speaker of the National Assembly, Peter Katjavivi, while acknowledging that progress has been made in the empowerment of children and young people in Namibia, said there is still a lot that needs to be done.
“It is crucial that the legislature within the scope of its work makes special provision for the most vulnerable groups in our society,” he said.