To commemorate the Day of the African Child on 16 June 2014, Panos Institute Southern Africa (PSAf) is challenging Southern African countries to explore ways of making the region a better place for children and the youth.
Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) member states are currently inundated with various civil and criminal cases against the wellbeing and rights of the child.
Baseline research conducted by PSAf in various communities show that the young people of Southern Africa face a number of depressing realities which can potentially destroy thousands of destinies. For example, PSAf research conducted in 2013 in Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique points to an increase in the number of cases of young children being sexually defiled, being trafficked into forced labour, being denied access to education and basic needs like shelter and food and being taken advantage of because they are weak and not able to adequately defend themselves.
Many of these abuses are happening because the laws and statutes that are supposed to protect the child have loopholes and ambiguities. The affairs of children in most SADC countries do not reside with one government ministry or one Act of Parliament, but are cross cutting and held by many line ministries. This means that no particular government wing is charged with the holistic development and protection of children and their affairs.
One such legal loophole common in many countries is the definition of who a child is. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC), a child is someone below the age of 18 years. However many countries have the child defined by different age groups ranging from below 21, 18, 17, 16, 14 and some laws saying a child can be anyone from birth with no age limit!
PSAf believes that today’s young people will lead tomorrow’s world. In order for children and youths to discover their full potential as the future of any society, they need a lot of support from the adults around them. For today’s children to grow into responsible adults who will in turn drive Southern Africa’s development, they need a solid foundation upon which they can launch themselves. The current status quo does not provide that foundation.
As part of our contribution to laying a strong foundation for today’s children to be good leaders in the future, PSAf is working with partner organisations to increase access to maternal and child health services in rural areas, and to strengthen child protection systems in those areas. This is to ensure that children grow in an enabling environment that allows them to realise their full future potential and which protects them from different abuses like defilements, early pregnancies for girls and drug abuse.
Southern Africa and indeed the rest of Africa cannot prosper unless holistic measures are put in place to allow children and the youth to also participate in development processes. The Day of the African Child is therefore a good time for reflection on the potential of young people to drive Southern Africa’s development and bring long lasting transformation to the region.
- Lilian Kiefer (firstname.lastname@example.org)is executive director at Panos Institute Southern Africa.Date published:14/06/2014Organisation:Panos Institute Southern Africa
- Multiple Sclerosis Society Inland Branch (MSSA)Please note: this opportunity closing date has passed and may not be available any more.Opportunity closing date:Friday, August 30, 2013Opportunity type:Employment
MSSA seeks to appoint an Auxiliary Social Worker, based in KwaZulu-Natal.
Counselling and therapeutic work;
- Counselling and therapeutic work may be telephonic or face to face and must be reported in an activity log to be submitted every week, and compiled in a monthly report;
- Update case files.
- Visits are based on necessity and urgency and you need to plan for visits with Manager;
- Social worker must use their own transport and a travel expense claim will be submitted for approval from manager for payment;
- Recorded in Activity report.
- Social worker to attend to helpline: answering questions, providing info and or counseling and support;
- Must keep records of helpline calls;
- Recorded in activity report.
- Social worker may be required to make referrals to doctors/psychologist/therapists/hospitals etc;
- Recorded in activity report.
- Social worker will be responsible for guiding clients on how and where to acquire a grant or pension.
- May be requested to assist with group work processes from time to time;
- Offer assistance for facilitation in group events ( ie Refreshments and materials) to be approved by committee first;
- Recorded in Activity report.
- Counselling a family/individuals, possibly solution focused problem solving, educating family members about MS and offering support.
- IDP’S and care plans as and when manager requests;
- Keep relevant case/client records and beneficiary statistics;
- On-going research and learning related to field of practice;
- Guide cleaner and gardener staff to keep office tidy.
- Social worker will be expected to liaise with manager on a regular basis;
- Attending supervision is compulsory;
- Attending relevant functions/events/meetings/workshops and courses as and when requested by manager;
- Social worker can also read relevant journal articles (the social worker must obtain 20 CPD points per financial year).
- Compulsory weekly activity Reports to be submitted to manager on Friday at 12h00;
- Monthly Supervision reports, required by manager every last Monday of month by 12h00;
- Monthly report to social services Manager before last day of every month 12h00;
- Monthly statistics reports;
- DSD reports.
- Diploma as social worker;
- Work experience;
- Administrative skills;
- Interpersonal skills.
Please quote the source of this advertisement in your application - NGO Pulse Portal.
For more about the Multiple Sclerosis Society Inland Branch, refer to www.mssainland.org.za.
For other vacancies in the NGO sector, refer to www.ngopulse.org/vacancies.
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The female condom has been making its way across developing countries, particularly those in the African continent.
While many see this as a woman's commodity, one man in Mozambique is actively campaigning for it too. Felix Magul and his seven colleagues from the Kutenga youth association have been promoting female condoms in that country.
The men regularly take to the streets of Matola, an hour's drive from the capital, Maputo, to actively campaign for what many see as a woman's commodity. "We're giving power to women who were previously only supposed to use the male condom," explains Magul.
To read the article titled, “Mozambican man campaigns for female condom,” click here.Source:Deutsche Welle
A pro-democracy group, Swaziland Diaspora Platform (SDP), has welcomed the African National Congress’ resolution to support the democratisation of Swaziland.
In a press statement, SDP spokesperson, Ntombenhle Khathwane, points out that, "International solidarity with oppressed peoples has never been more important in this globalised world, and state sovereignty can no longer be used as a defence by oppressive regimes."
Khathwane further reiterated SDP’s call for King Mswati III to relinquish his reign and permit a multi-party democracy in Swaziland before the kingdom is isolated.
To read the article titled, “ANC resolution on Swaziland welcomed,” click here.Source:The Citizen
A Zimbabwean NGO is working with local communities to eradicate rising child labour in the country, managing through a recent pilot project to remove some 350 children from the fields back into the classroom.
In an effort to promote what it calls child labour free zones, the Coalition Against Child Labour in Zimbabwe, says it has placed affected children in ‘bridge schools’ where they are housed temporarily.
National coordinator, Pascal Masocha, has been quoted as saying that a 2007 survey identified Masvingo province as the worst affected, prompting them to set up a pilot project in Chiredzi district.
To read the article titled, “Zimbabwe NGO tackles rising child labour in farming communities,” click here.Source:VOA News
- Child welfare experts say a Tshwane day- mother who has been accused of assault after an eight-month-old baby was allegedly abused at her house acted ‘irresponsibly’ and was ‘neglectful’.
Lidia Venter, from the Pretoria Day-Mothers Association which the accused day-mother belongs to, says it is the duty of a day-mother to ensure the person they leave children with is responsible.
“You cannot leave the children with a stranger. It has to be someone responsible, someone you know very well,” says Lidia.
To read the article titled, “Day mother blamed over alleged child abuse,” click here.Source:The Citizen
- Child rights group, Molo Songololo, has warned that school leavers who fail to find jobs are at risk of turning to crime or substance abuse.
Molo Songololo director, Patrick Solomons, says that there is an urgent need for schools to better prepare matriculants, and provide them with more information.
Solomons further states that jobs are hard to find and school leavers can become demotivated and ultimately dysfunctional.
To read the article titled, “Unemployed school leavers may turn to crime – NGO,” click here.Source:Eye Witness News
- To mark the occasion of International Human Rights Day today, organisations focusing on children’s rights and the rights of persons with disabilities, have launched a campaign to promote the right to education of children with disabilities.
South Africa has ratified a number of important international treaties, which means that the government has committed to providing free primary or basic education to every child and to develop secondary education. “Importantly, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities requires the provision of inclusive education at all levels and the UN committee that implements the Convention on the Rights of the Child has emphatically stated that all children have the same right to education, including children with disabilities,” says Lorenzo Wakefield, researcher at the Children’s Rights Project of the Community Law Centre at the University of the Western Cape.
The South African Constitution guarantees the right of South African children to basic education. In 2001 the Department of Education developed White Paper No 6, which sets out a 20-year plan for developing the system of inclusive education. However, Dr Heléne Combrinck of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at the University of the Western Cape raises concerns about this: she notes that “the right to basic education is not subject to the qualification of progressive realisation, which means that the 20-year timeframe is problematic and may be unconstitutional.”
In spite of the strong human rights framework, significant numbers of children with disabilities in South Africa don’t have equal access to education. In addition the quality of the education that is provided is very often substandard. For example, Cara Loening, Director of Sign Language Education and Development, notes that, “Despite 13 years of school most Deaf children leave school functionally illiterate.”
The quality of teaching available to children with disabilities in mainstream and in special schools is a significant problem in many cases. Tessa Wood, Director of the Western Cape Forum for Intellectual Disabilities, points out that, “Realising the right of all children to education means that we must prioritise investment in training and support for teachers at a range of different levels.”
Children may experience multiple disabilities, which result in different barriers to learning. These barriers need to be addressed by providing different forms and levels of support to children. “Using a ‘one size fits all’ approach results in further discrimination, often limiting children’s ability to reach their full potential in society,” cautions Robyn Bath, Manager of Inclusive Education Western Cape.
Children with disabilities are often limited in their options for secondary and tertiary education. Some special schools only offer education to Grade 9 level. In addition, children who have followed the path of attending Schools of Skills find that the range of subjects offered severely limit their career paths. The costs of pursuing further training can also be a serious obstacle. “Socio-economic circumstances play a major role in realising the right to education; poorer families face significant obstacles to ensuring that their children receive quality education and that their children can pursue the career of their choice,” says Jabaar Mohamed, Director of DEAFSA Western Cape.
Another barrier is that special schools for children who require higher levels of support are generally located far from where the learners live. “Transport becomes problematic, as it is unaffordable for many and government transport programmes are inappropriate and dysfunctional. The Department of Transport must come on board in rural as well as urban areas,” notes Sandra Ambrose, Director of the Disabled Children’s Action Group.
Many non -governmental organisations are working successfully with schools and the Education Departments towards addressing these obstacles, so that children with barriers to learning, and especially those from under-resourced communities, have the same opportunities as other children.
This campaign will seek to monitor access to quality education for children with barriers to learning. “We plan to work with a number of government departments at national and provincial levels. In addition we will approach the National and Provincial Legislatures to promote parliamentary oversight over the implementation of policy,” says Sam Waterhouse of the Community Law Centre’s Parliamentary Programme. “Existing policy must be strengthened and its implementation must be prioritised. This includes ensuring that these issues are firmly on the table in debates and discussions on provincial budget allocation,” she adds.
“Government, and especially the Department of Basic Education, must consult more widely with experts in the disability sector when developing programmes and curriculums,” states Mohamed.
We are calling for the implementation of education policy that is in line with the international and constitutional human rights framework. “The right of all children in our society to learn and to develop to their full potential must be taken seriously,” confirmed Sharon September, Education and Training Coordinator at the Alliance for Children’s Entitlement to Social Security.
For comment contact:
Ms. Robyn Bath
Inclusive Education Western Cape (IEWC)
082 927 2996
Ms. Tessa Woods
Western Cape Forum for Intellectual Disability (WCFID)
082 421 4120
Mr. Jabaar Mohamed
DeafSA Western Cape
072 472 1852 (SMS only to arrange interview)
Ms. Sharon September
Alliance for Children’s Entitlement to Social Security (ACESS)
082 619 0304
Ms. Sandra Ambrose
Disabled Children’s Action Group (DiCAG)
084 548 2861
Ms Cara Leoning
Sign Language Education and Development (SLED)
082 375 3075
Ms. Sam Waterhouse
Parliamentary Programme Community Law Centre, UWC
084 522 9646
Dr. Helene Combrinck
Centre for Disability Law and Policy, UWC
083 440 9871
Mr. Lorenzo Wakefield
Community Law Centre, UWC
078 222 2144
Normal 0 false false false EN-ZA X-NONE X-NONE The campaign is supported by the following organisations:
Action in Autism KZN; Alliance for Children’s Entitlement to Social Security (ACESS); Autism Western Cape; Centre for Disability Law and Policy, UWC; Children’s disability Centre; Community Law Centre, UWC; DeafSA WC; Disabled Children’s Action Group (DiCAG); Disability Research Action Team; Down Syndrome South Africa; Epilepsy South Africa; Inclusive Education Western Cape (IEWC); Oasis Association for Intellectual Disability; Peter Pan Centre; Sign Language Education and Development (SLED); Western Cape Forum for Intellectual Disability; Western Cape Association for Persons with Disabilities.
This initiative receives financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of the release are the sole responsibility of the organisations listed and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.
To view other NGO press releases, visit: http://www.ngopulse.org/group/home-page/pressreleases.Date published:10/12/2010Organisation:Community Law Centre, University of the Western Cape
- The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) says a generation of babies could be born free of AIDS if the international community step up efforts to provide universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and social protection.
In its report entitled ‘Children and AIDS: Fifth Stocktaking Report 2010’, UNICEF found that millions of women and children, particularly in poor countries, fall through the cracks of HIV services either due to their gender, social or economic status, location or education.
The organisation states that while children have benefited from substantial progress made in the fight against AIDS, more must be done to ensure all women and children get access to the medicines and health services designed to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission.
To read the article titled, “UNICEF says HIV-free generation achievable,” click here.Source:Mail&Guardian
- The Teddy Bear Clinic Laws and Resources Aimed at the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (RAPCAN) say laws that make consensual sex between teenagers a crime are unconstitutional.
The Teddy Bear Clinic director, Lizette Schoombie, points out that the case involving the highly publicised Jules High School case in which a 15-year old girl was raped on the school grounds, ‘emphatically demonstrated’ the negative effects of the act for children.
Schoombie says that while the Sexual Offences Act aims to protect children and adolescents from older sexual predators, the way the legislation was drafted has the opposite effect and breached children’s constitutional rights.
To read the article titled, “Child rights groups challenge laws on sex,” click here.Source:Business Day