By Tabora Bojang
Njundu Drammeh, a renowned child worker has called on government to work to fulfill its obligations on children and invest more to help realise their potentials.
The Child Protection Alliance coordinator said there is need for government to increase its budgetary allocation in social sectors to address needs of children and uphold their rights in line with the country’s domestic and other international legal and policy frameworks.
He was speaking at a four-day public investment workshop designed to ‘interrogate obligations on children’ and what mechanisms are in place to help guide them to lead a fulfilled life.
It was organised by the CPA, and supported by Save the Children Gambia.
Njundu told the gathering the future of Gambian children would be precarious if the state does not put aside resources for the effective implementation of its legal obligations towards them.
“When we ratified the conventions of the rights of the Child in 1990, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of Children 2000 and Children Act 2005, we have entered into a covenant with the children of The Gambia that the state as a primary duty bearer will fulfil all their rights. But the fulfilment of these rights cannot come when the necessary resources and human power are not there for their effective implementation.
“One of the strategic objectives of the NDP is on education, health and social protection that includes mainly child protection, however, if you look at the number of social workers per population in the NDP is about having three social workers per 20 thousand of the population”.
He observed that the Department of Social Welfare as a ‘critical’ government institution is under-resourced and lacks required workforce to efficiently address social needs of the children.
The workshop targets 20 participants including government ministries, parliamentarians, local authorities, and CPA member organisations.
It is expected that it will enhance the capacity of the participants in public investment in children, budgetary processes and procedures, child-friendly budgeting, legal obligations of the state towards children et cetera.
Activists evinced hope that it also help guide the country’s optimisation for resource mobilisation to invest in children for the full realisation of their rights.