Network Lobbies For Creation Of Child Officer Positions

By Aliko Munde

Mzimba, November 23, Mana: Civil Society Organisations (CSO) Network of Mzimba has appealed to government to create a position of District Child Officer in the councils as one way of directly dealing with issues affecting children.

The CSO Network Chairperson, Teckson Amadu, made the call over the weekend during a child protection stakeholders’ meeting which was organised with funding from Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad).

Amadu said the network faces challenges in implementing child protection initiatives in the district due to low funding towards children welfare in the district.

“Just imagine, the District Social Welfare Office (DSWO) gets K200, 000 per month from central government for services meant for the elderly, persons with disability and even children,” Amadu said.

He further appealed to government to consider increasing financial allocation to the DSWO for the smooth running of its operations so that they serve people better.

“The office is failing to follow up child abuse cases due to low funding,” he said.

Amadu then suggested the creation of positions of District Children Officers in all district councils as it is the case with district gender officers.

District Commissioner (DC) for M’mbelwa District Council, Emmanuel Bambe, concurred with Amadu saying DSWO receives little funding thereby affecting its operations and service delivery.

Bambe said both national and district budgets are not child friendly hence the need to advocate for more financial allocation towards child protection interventions.

“Children have a voice but they are not heard. We need to be developing child friendly budgets which can contribute to effective implementation of child related activities so that the plight of children is recognized,” Bambe said.

Bambe also welcomed the suggestion for the creation of the positions of District Child Officers saying the development will enhance proper coordination and funding allocation towards child protection interventions.

DSWO for Mzimba, Bernard Nangwale, said his office is failing to meet the expectations of people as the district has six permanent child protection workers who are on government pay roll while 25 of them are volunteers.

“The volunteer child protection workers are playing a pivotal role in fighting child abuses across the district but their efforts keep on dwindling due to lack of incentives,” Nangwale said.