CSOs Bemoan Plight of Children in Mzimba
Civil Society Organizations in Mzimba have faulted government for low funding to offices that champion the interests of children saying this is hampering their work towards child protection.
Chairperson for Mzimba South Civil Society Network Teckson Amadu says for example the district social welfare office receives funding of K200000 a month which is too little in addressing the interests of children.
Amadu says such funding to the office whose scope of work involves child protection is insufficient if the office is to deliver.
"It has been noted that there is poor funding towards issues affecting children in the district imagine the social welfare office only receives an allocation of K200000 a month for child protection this is not enough for the office to make follow-ups on issues affecting children across the district", said Amadu.
He said children in the district are facing a spectrum of challenges that include child defilement, rape, child neglect, and child labor issues which are not being addressed by government structures mainly because of poor funding.
The CSO chair also said there is a lack of seriousness among the police in handling cases where children have been abused.
The remarks were made when Mzimba South Civil Society Network presented a position paper on the plight of children to duty bearers from the Mmbelwa district council at an interface meeting organized with financial support from CCAP synod of Livingstonia education department's Securing Children's Rights through Education and Protection (SCREP) project funded by NORAD through Save the Children.
" The whole essence of presenting the position paper and the budget brief is to paint a picture on the status of children in the district and we also want to use the paper as an advocacy tool for lobbying for the allocation of more funds that can be used in addressing issues that affect children," said Amadu
Amadu says there is a need for concerted efforts from all stakeholders involved in child protection like the police, social welfare office, and the judiciary if child protection is to be enhanced in the district
"It's sad that the interventions in the protection of children are mainly being done by NGOs who are only supposed to complement what government is already doing", said Amadu.
However district commissioner for the Mmbelwa district council Emmanuel Bambe while conceding the issue of poor funding is negatively affect called on non-state actors to lobby central government to allocate more funds towards children-focused interventions.
"Issues to do with children are handled by governments social welfare office and community development but we know that the funding that they receive is not enough to support the interests of children as well as older people, so the CSOs can also help us in lobbying for an increase in funding from central government to these sectors," said Bambe.
Bambe said though other sectors might have funding for children you find that there is a component in there that lacks coordination at the district level in terms of a focal person being responsible for the benefit of children
He said there is a need to streamline the funding specifically for children that can be ably monitored after the implementation of activities.
Senior Chief Mabulabo commended Mzimba South Civil Society Network and CCAP Synod of Livingstonia Education department for pooling them together to discuss issues that affect children in the district who make up 51% of the population.