Panos calls for strong Govt system to protect OVCs


PANOS Institute Southern Africa (PSAf) is calling for the establishment and strengthening of the community child care referral systems in rural and high density areas to ensure that disabled, orphaned and vulnerable children requiring specialist treatment are connected to the right institutions. PSAf  executive director Lilian Kiefer said creation or strengthening and mainstreaming of existing child protection systems in various line ministries and working with maternal and a child health community structures could help ensure disabled, orphaned and vulnerable children were provided with their basic needs of shelter, food, security and education. Panos calls for more resources to be allocated for the creation of safe places for orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) and for a child rights based approach that ensures that children have a right to play, protection, education and happiness in their communities. Panos is also appealing for quick intervention by the Department of Social Welfare to ensure that Peter’s grandmother who has endured 14 years of looking after her OVC grandson is relieved of her duty and equally supported to live a normal life again. Ms Kiefer said the family qualified for social cash transfer and a safe home according to the many child rights and human rights international statutes. She reiterated that Panos was aware that there were more disabled, orphaned and vulnerable children and child headed homes that had been abandoned and forgotten by their communities and the Government might not be aware of their existence and plight. It is for this reason that Panos has been working with the media and selected community action groups from poor and marginalized communities in rural areas to raise awareness about the plight of disadvantaged and vulnerable children such as Peter, to promote the strengthening of existing child protection systems. Ms Kiefer said Panos had also trained over 15 community and national media houses in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) in promoting and reporting child rights issues.