26 June 2019

Botswana: Childcare Service Collaboration Vital

Gaborone — Childcare service providers have been encouraged to strengthen commitment to caring for their primary beneficiaries instead of turning their organisations into a spectacle for donors.

Officially opening a three-day children's rights convention in Gaborone recently, SOS Botswana director Mr Motshwari Kitso said it was also important for national civil society organisations to come together and coordinate childcare services.

He said collaboration of different structures was important in monitoring and reflecting on issues affecting childcare as a collective in order to map the way forward.

The last convention, he said had informed many civil societies of the need to come together and find ways in which childcare services could be improved.

He indicated that the quality of standards in childcare, including non-compliance to regulations and corporate governance, were among some of the concerns that childcare service providers were faced with.

He added that as a result, some childcare centres had closed down and that showed a gap in accountability needed from organisations undertaking the important task of childcare.

Again, he said accountability was an important because donor organisations demanded more evidence of social impact from childcare operators.

Nonetheless, he was happy with the number of civil societies that were present at the convention, saying that would go a long way in coordinating efforts to improve childcare services in the country.

While last year 46 civil societies including childcare professionals had come together, Mr Kitso noted that this year said they were expecting 56 organisations to come together.The convention, he said served as an opportunity to form networks for collective bargaining to support legal frameworks that were already in place.

Thus, he encouraged fervent dialogue and urged delegates to come up with different structures and codes of conduct that would complement government's efforts.

"Some of our discussions will also address positioning of the organisation in order to enable them to navigate the turbulent and populated funding environment," he said.

Mr Kitso was hopeful that the presence of social protection organisations would contribute to informed discussions and bring about lasting solutions for childcare in the country.

A representative from Child Rights Network for Southern Africa, Ms Felistus Motimedi said her organisation was in full support of civil society organisations working together.

She said the Child Rights Network of Southern Africa existed to ensure that civil society organisations facilitated and spoke with one voice on issues such as violence as well as child rights monitoring.

She said government, as the main facilitator, was also crucial in discussions on policies that enabled childcare initiatives.

She also encouraged more engagement from policy stakeholders.Ms Motimedi further encouraged civil society organisations to ensure the country remained on the right path in ensuring the SADC gender protocols are observed and necessary funding was achieved.

Source : BOPA

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