THE Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare launched Namibia's National Agenda for Children 2012 to 2016 on Friday, coinciding with the Day of the African Child.
The main focus of the agenda is the reduction of child poverty. Its intent, said the new Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Erastus Negonga, is to improve the situation of orphaned and vulnerable children with evidence-based achievements.
"The Namibian child is at risk," declared Prime Minister Nahas Angula, saying too many Namibian children are malnourished, orphaned and homeless.
Almost 30 per cent of Namibian children under the age of five are stunted, which means that they are too short for their age.
"This is a serious matter," the PM reiterated, saying the national constitutional mandate of the State to promote and maintain the welfare of the people of this country is not adhered to.
Notwithstanding, said Angula, Government, through the adoption of the agenda for children, has made a serious commitment to arrest the dire situation many children find themselves in.
The agenda has five priority commitments: that all children be healthy and well-nourished; have equitable access to quality integrated early childhood development and other educational services; access to age-appropriate quality HIV prevention, treatment, care and support; adequate standard of living and a legal identity; and that all children are safe from neglect, violence, abuse, and exploitation.
The agenda demands a cross-cutting mandate to 11 ministries, the Office of the Prime Minister, the National Planning Commission, civil society organisations, parents and guardians, and international development partners.