Thari Ya Bana 2012 launched
Gaborone 20 November 2012: Botswana marked the commemoration of the 23rd anniversary of United Nations Convention on the Rights of a child with a launch of the third edition of Thari Ya Bana 2012- Reflections on Children in Botswana publication.
Thari Ya Bana 2012 focuses on five distinct, yet inter-related, themes of child survival, child development, child protection, HIV and AIDS and social policy. The publication is a compilation of existing data and information analyzed from a new perspective, providing readers with new insights on known problems and contributing to the understanding of important issues confronting children in Botswana today. Thari Ya Bana 2012 also demonstrates how data can be used by policy makers to improve the effectiveness of programmes. The article by Kibassa and Codjia 2012, which presents a proven methodology for health system strengthening, is a strong example.
When launching the publication, Hon. Assistant Minister of Local Government, Maxwell Motowane highlighted that the government of Botswana recognizes the value of children and young people and is committed to improving their well-being. Hon Motowane described various international framework agreements for protecting and promoting child rights, including the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and the Millennium Development Goals. He also noted the domestication of such instruments through the Children’s Act of 2009 - the overarching legislation for child protection in Botswana.
Hon Motowane further noted government initiatives put in place in different ministries geared towards children’s welfare, including the Standard One orientation programme in the Ministry of Education, targeting of Orphans and Vulnerable Children for increased access to vocational and tertiary education; the Wise-Up campaign – supported by UNICEF which provides a platform for harnessing social media to increase young people’s knowledge on HIV; and The Back to School initiative.
“I should indicate that there are three principles central to meeting the needs of all Batswana children. These principles are rooted in; a deep understanding of children’s needs; formation of partnerships to enable national scaling up of programmes, and evidence-based policy making” Hon. Maxwell Motowane.
The launch was well attended and included contributors to the publication, primarily faculty from the University of Botswana as well as a number of other stakeholders engaged in improving children well-being. Co-Editor of the publication, Prof. Tapologo Muandeni, provided an overview of Thari Ya Bana 2012, while a new review exercise was presented by a member of the National Children’s Council, Ms. Boipelo Seitlhamo. UNICEF Deputy Representative Mr. Scott Whoolery provided a summary of data.
UNICEF Botswana Country Representative, Dr. Doreen Mulenga, concluded the launch by taking note of the progress that has been made by government and partners in the last decade, particularly with respect to research, access to and coverage of a broad range programmes and services for children and how there is yet much to be achieved.
In response to various articles in the publication, as well as trends in child statistics, Dr. Mulenga pointed to five key issues that should shape the agenda of all stakeholders to secure a future fit for children in Botswana. These include: advancements in science and specific child related data; improved implementation of policies and laws; securing access to quality services for children, ensuring a reasonable return on investments; and promoting household and community ownership and national solidarity.
Finally, the UNICEF Representative underscored UNICEF’s commitment to working with partners like UB to gain a better insight into bottlenecks and challenges that may be hindering children’s access to essential services.