A two-day consultative workshop in view of the setting up of an Observatory for Parenthood in the Republic of Mauritius was launched yesterday by the Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, Mrs Fazila Jeewa-Daureeawoo, at the National Women Development Centre in Phoenix. The event is being held in the margins of activities organised to mark International Day of Families 2017.
In her address, Mrs Jeewa-Daureeawoo said that the Observatory for Parenthood would serve as a platform to bring together various institutions offering child and family services, and collect and analyse data on different policies and best practices regarding family. "The Observatory will be the beginning of a new partnership that will enable a more effective assessment of existing provisions and schemes, conduct evidence-based research on parenthood, identify actors in the sector and map their activities as well as disseminate tools and methods," she added.
The Minister stressed the decline in marriage rate, which decreased from 21.1 in 1993 to 15.8 in 2014, while the divorce rate was on the rise, from 1.4 in 1993 to reach 3.6 in 2014, with 2,162 divorces granted by Court in 2014. According to Mrs Jeewa-Daureeawoo, statistics show more divorce procedures are initiated by women than by men.
To curtail this trend, the Minister pointed out that several projects are currently being implemented. They include the Pre-Marital Counselling Programme whose objective is to prepare engaged couples for a stable conjugal and a healthy family life, and the Marriage Enrichment Programme geared towards preparing married couples for family responsibilities and stable conjugal life, as well as strengthening and promoting understanding and respect between couples. "Moreover, in a bid to stem the erosion of family values, a study has been conducted to assess the wellbeing of families in Mauritius and its recommendations will be translated into actions," said Mrs Jeewa-Daureeawoo.
With regard to the Observatory, which is a regional initiative, the Minister pointed out that Mauritius will be the second country in the Indian Ocean, after Reunion Island, to house such an Observatory on Parenthood. She added that the initiative will build and reinforce the linkages among countries of the Indian Ocean. It will also allow countries to gain better insights and understanding on issues of parenthood and adopt and share strategies that have proved successful.
Cross perspectives on parenthood in the Indian Ocean
In 2015, representatives of eight Indian Ocean countries namely Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Reunion Island, Seychelles, South Africa, and Tanzania participated in a Symposium on 'Cross perspectives on parenthood in the Indian Ocean'. The objectives of the Symposium were, among others: to understand the anthropological and historical foundations of various types of families of the Indian Ocean Region; share the different policies and best practices regarding family and parenthood support programmes; and identify the most efficient and successful policies, programmes and projects that are culturally and socially appropriate.
In the wake of the Symposium, a scientific committee was mandated to promote the creation of national observatories of parenthood in each country of the Indian Ocean, along the lines of what is done elsewhere and, in particular, on the model set up in Reunion Island. The aim of such observatories is to foster the development of the best parenting skills through identification and dissemination of best practices.