Tanzania government to review policy, laws on child welfare

Tuesday December 17 2019

Mwananchi Communication Limited (MCL) Board

Mwananchi Communication Limited (MCL) Board Chairman, Mr Leonard Mususa, hands out an appreciation certificate to deputy minister for health, Dr Faustine Ndugulile, for attending a symposium on the rights of children organised by the company in Dar es Salaam yesterday. From left are MCL Managing Director, Mr Francis Nanai, the Director of Children Development at the ministry, Ms Mwajuma Magwiza, Unicef Deputy Country Representative, Mr Rene Van Dongen, Editors Forum’s Deodatus Balile and Secretary Neville Meena (right). PHOTO|ERICKY BONIFACE BONIPHACE  

By Alfred Zacharia @azacharia3 azacharia@tz.antionmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. The government said it will review policies and laws governing children welfare to guarantee protection of their civil, political, economic and social, health and cultural rights.

The review will take place during the 2020/21 Financial Year with a special focus to improve the Child Development Policy of 2008 and Tanzania Law of the Child Act of 2009.

This was revealed in Dar es Salaam yesterday by the Deputy Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Dr Faustine Ndugulile when speaking at a symposium on rights of the child.

The deputy minister said at the event organised by Mwananchi Communications Limited (MCL), Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF), Unicef and the ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children that the policy and the law were too outdated to solve current challenges.

“I admit before you that there are so many gaps in our current policy and the law on protection of children’s rights. We are looking forward to get your views before and during the review,” he noted.

He admitted that the country was still facing a lot of challenges in ending early marriages, malnutrition and violence against children. The country was also in distress with taking care of ‘street children’ and database for such issues.

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“I know our budget for children department remains a big challenge, but we will push harder and harder to increase the budget,” he said.

Ms Tuzie Ediwn from the Early Childhood Development section of the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) said Tanzania could benefit economically and socially through participatory development activities and a range of opportunities if the government invested at least $2,300 (about Sh5.2 million) for every child in early childhood development.

“To ensure the interventions are valid, the government needs to put up friendly policies for children as well as reviewing the current 2008 child development policy,” she said.

A lecturer at the Institute of Social Work Ms Brigail Kiwelu said awareness of child’s rights was key in finding solutions to problems threatening children rights. “Of recent, many children have been reported missing, but have we questioned parents how it happened? They just share pictures and videos of their children on social networks without even knowing that in so doing, they were exposing the information to kidnappers,” she noted.

She blamed the tendency of some parents to out in bars, clubs and other ceremonies with their children, saying the habit spoiled children.

Mwananchi Communication Ltd (MCL) managing director Francis Nanai wished that Tanzania’s youths were brought up in such a way that they would be able to grab the economic, social and leadership opportunities that the African continent offers.