Parley launches five-year strategic plan

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–The National Assembly of Zambia, through the Parliamentary Caucus on Children (PCC), has launched a five-year (2012-2016) strategic plan with a call for enhanced advocacy and protection of children’s rights.

And Gender and Child Development Minister, Inonge Wina, has observed that the current prevailing social and economic situation, coupled with the high incidence of HIV/AIDS, is impacting negatively on the wellbeing of the majority and children.

Meanwhile, Parliamentary Caucus on Children (PCC) chairperson, Munji Habeenzu, says the launch of the strategic plan is an important milestone in the growth of the caucus as an important organization in pushing the agenda for children’s rights.

Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Mkhondo Lungu, says the plan will seek to consolidate recent gains by supporting government’s efforts in the protection of children’s rights by implementing appropriate policies.

Mr Lungu was speaking during the launch of the five year (2012-2013) Strategic Plan in Lusaka today under the theme: “Working towards achieving a Zambia Fit for Children”.

He observed that over 200 million children under five years old fail to reach their full cognitive and social potential as a result of poor development.

The Deputy Speaker further observed that many of these children in sub-Saharan African are likely to under-achieve in school and subsequently to have low incomes as adults.

Mr Lungu explained that if not addressed, these children, when they grow into adults, are also likely to have children at a very early age and provide poor health care, nutrition and stimulation to their children.

He pointed out that this may also contribute to prolong intergenerational transmission of poverty and poor development hence affecting sustainable development of the respective countries.

And speaking at the same function, Gender and Child Development Minister, Inonge Wina, observed that the current prevailing social and economic situation, coupled with the high incidence of HIV/AIDS, is impacting negatively on the wellbeing of the majority and children.

Ms Wina explained that these factors have contributed to the breakdown of the once strong extended family system hence the increase in the number of street children.

She said there is currently an estimated 1.3 million orphans in Zambia of which 690, 000 have been orphaned as a result of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Earlier, Parliamentary Caucus on Children (PCC) chairperson, Munji Habeenzu, said the launch of the strategic plan is an important milestone, in the growth of the caucus as an important organization in pushing the agenda for children’s rights.

Mr Habeenzu stated that the plan will also serve as a guide for the PCC to effectively deliver on its core mandate in accelerating legal reforms for children, improved access to basic social services through increased funding and budget tracking.

He commended United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and other key stakeholders for their input in the formulation of the plan.

Several Members of Parliament, Human Right Activists and children civil society organizations attended the launch.

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