Zambia has reaffirmed its commitment to upholding and promoting children’s rights during the annual World Children’s Day Commemoration, held in Walvis Bay, Namibia.
Regional leaders from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia gathered with children from these nations under the theme: “Renewing Our Promise for Children’s Rights.”
Children representing their countries presented a collective call to action to their respective governments, addressing crucial issues affecting their well-being.
Among the highlighted concerns were the need for increased educational opportunities through a practical curriculum that incorporates mental health aspects.
The children advocated for protective laws against various forms of abuse and urged countries to adopt climate-smart interventions centered on environmental management.
Additionally, the young advocates called for measures against alcohol and substance abuse, teenage pregnancies, forced marriages, and the implementation of child-centered social protection programs.
President Hakainde Hichilema assured regional African leaders of Zambia’s renewed commitment to safeguarding children’s rights. In a speech read on his behalf by Minister of Community Development and Social Services, Ms. Doreen Mwamba, President Hichilema emphasized the commitment through the enactment of new laws, including the Children’s Code Act, aimed at harmonizing legislation related to children.
President Hichilema asserted that stiffer punishments would be imposed on perpetrators of violence against children, such as child marriage and defilement. He announced the upcoming review of the national child policy to address new and emerging issues impacting children negatively.
“The commitment is demonstrated through enactment of new laws and formulation of policies meant to uplift the living conditions for our children. In 2022, we enacted the children’s code act which has enhanced the protective environment for our children by harmonizing all legislation pertaining to children,” he stated.
President Hichilema highlighted various initiatives aimed at improving children’s welfare, such as the introduction of free education, increased Constituency Development Fund (CDF) for providing desks, and enhanced recruitment of health personnel for improved health and nutrition security.
Regional leaders extended an invitation to the entire continent to join the commemorations, promoting continental networking on children’s issues. Namibian President, Mr. Hage Geingob, emphasized the importance of continental integration in forming a united Africa.