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Botswana, April 2016: Dikgosi facilitate children’s involvement on formulation on national vision

© UNICEF Botswana
Member of the CCF sharing about the Botswana she wants to see in 2036.

UNICEF Country Representative, Ms. Julianna Lindsey, has commended the traditional leadership for promoting child participation in Botswana.

Speaking at a consultative meeting for Vision 2036 formulation, Ms. Lindsey said that in most countries traditional leaders often use culture as a barrier to soliciting views and opinions of children on issues of national interest. “It’s not everyday that countries develop important frameworks such as a national vision, or seek the involvement of children. This initiative is even nobler because it is driven by the custodians of Setswana culture, members of Ntlo ya Dikgosi,” said Ms. Lindsey.

She applauded the chiefs for allowing members of children’s parliament to be consultative in an area traditionally set for adult consultation, Kgotla. She also applauded the Presidential Task Force on Vision 2036 for affording the children an opportunity to participate in formulation of the Vision 2036. The Presidential Task Force has been mandated by President Lt Gen. Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama to mobilize Botswana to define their own long term social, environmental and economic development aspirations and develop a long term vision document reflecting consensus that would have emerged from the consultations. While the role of the Forum is to discuss issues affecting the education, health, safety or general well-being of children, and make such recommendations as it considers appropriate to the National Children’s Council as stipulated in Children’s Act of 2009.

Speaking at the same event, the Deputy Chairperson of the House of Chief, Kgosi Malope II emphasized that traditional leadership should play a leading role in protection and promotion of children’s rights. He added that children can be fully protected if they are given a platform to air their views on issues that affect them. He further said the country’s vision would have been incomplete if the government could have gone ahead without engaging children. “Adults should be cognizant of the fact that developmental issues that affect the well-being of children require views of children be solicited at all times. That is why there is need to consult members of the Children’ Consultative Forum on preparations for Vision 2036 so that their views are taken aboard,” he said.

The chairperson of Children’s Forum, Cantona Bolokang, also applauded the traditional leadership for driving child participation. He said that their involvement in the vision formulation is critical as most of them will be adults in 2036. “It is only fair that we contribute to shaping the Botswana we want, because in 2036 we will be adults and none of us here want to be jobless at the time,” said Bolokang. He also emphasised the need to consult children on issues of national interest, adding that such consultations are embedded in Setswana idioms that underpins that children offer fresh perspective to issues.



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