New Era (Windhoek)

Namibia: More Than 9 000 OVC Not Registered for Grants

Keetmanshoop — A total 9 951 orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) have not been registered to receive a monthly allowance from government yet, because they lack national documents.

The Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Erastus Negonga, said here yesterday that although these children have been identified, they could not be registered due to the lack of national documents, especially the identity documents (IDs) of their parents. He was speaking during a media briefing on his national familiarisation tour, which started in the northern regions in June and ended in the Karas Region yesterday.

To date, 141 768 OVC have been registered with the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare to receive the N$200 monthly grant. Of this number, 17 000 are in foster care. Foster care is supervised care for delinquent or neglected children, usually in an institution or substitute home.

The PS said that it is a concern for the ministry that 7 411 orphans are receiving grants, despite the fact that they have not been registered. "The ministry is, therefore, calling upon the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration, traditional authorities and church leaders to join efforts and address the backlog of OVC without identity documents to allow them to receive allowances," Negonga said.

He also called on all authorities to identify and register street children with the ministry so that they can be assisted with educational and other needs.

The ministry is furthermore faced with a shortage of social workers, with only 65 social workers, 15 of them coming from other African countries and appointed on renewable contracts. They all work across the country.

"I, therefore, call on more Namibians to study in the field of social work so that we can have enough social workers to help reduce gender-based violence (GBV)," added the PS.

Consultations with most stakeholders in the regions suggested that GBV, especially passion killings, are the result of frustrations experienced by members of the community, coupled with a lack of social workers and psychologists.

"The GBV situation in the country has escalated to an alarming level. In 2010, 11 854 cases of GBV were reported to the police, and this number increased to 14 405 in 2011. This is frightening, so we must all work harder to address the situation," Negonga said.

Overall, the ministry is faring well in addressing the needs of women and children in the country, he said.

Nampa

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