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Friday, May 24, 2024
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Govt reviews Action Plan on orphans and vulnerable children

Story by Yolanda Moyo

GOVERNMENT and its development partners are reviewing the National Action Plan (NAP) on orphans and vulnerable children to address the issue of drug and substance abuse as well as child sexual exploitation.

The National Action Plan (NAP) on orphans and vulnerable children which is implemented in a five-year phased approach, was first implemented in 2004 in response to the adverse effects of HIV and AIDS.

Director of Social Development in the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Mr Tawanda Zimhunga said, ‘‘Here we want to review the NAP we had in 2026-2020 and come up with another five-year plan.

“We want to take into consideration emerging vulnerabilities affecting our children issues of child labour, online violence and increased number of online violence and sexual exploitation.

“We have around five thematic areas under NAP, the first one is access to basic services we refer to access to health, education and access to birth registration for orphans and vulnerable children, the other focus is the reduction of harm on children, this includes bullying, sexual violence and online exploitation of children and the other pillar will focus on child labour.’’

‘‘There is a clarion call to end child labour by 2025, so this pillar will look at how we will work with the employment sector and how we will respond to such activities and look at how we can engage families on how to end the negative coping mechanisms where children end up going to work.

“The other pillar is drug and substance abuse, there is an increase in the use of drugs and substance abuse. The other pillar is family strengthening, there is a need to strengthen the family when it comes to the protection of children by making sure they have strong household security. The last and final pillar will look at the strengthening of the system. The system should be well-oiled to respond to issues of violence against children.’’

Development partners have contributed significantly over the years, complementing government efforts on child protection.

Child Protection Manager UNICEF Dr Nyasha Mayanga noyed, ‘‘The process that the government has engaged in collaboration with its partners demonstrates the government’s full commitment to fulfilling the rights of children. The plan is a key instrument and its operations a number of acts as partners we are happy with the success of the third NAP looking at the case management system and Zimbabwe is among the best countries which have a solid child protection system.’’

Notable achievements have been recorded so far including strengthening the provision of child protection services through the rollout of the National Case Management System in all districts.

The 4th National Action Plan on orphans and vulnerable children is expected to be presented by the third quarter of the year.

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