The National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO) has identified 30 members of parliament that make contributions regarding child development during parliamentary debates. Of these, five will be honored as Child Champions for the year 2017.
NANGO commends key individuals from parliament who have shown immense interest in child development. Through the Child Friendly National Budget Initiative (CFNBI), NANGO intends to advocate and lobby for more child friendly budget initiatives, inform the consigned child champions on the unexploited points of the Children Ten-Point Plan Plus and equip child champions with relevant knowledge and information in order for them to continue with effective lobby and advocacy for child friendly budgeting.
NANGO envisions a Zimbabwe where there is continued effective lobbying and advocacy for child friendly budget initiative by members of parliament and an enhanced child friendly budget in 2019 as a result of effective lobbying and advocacy.
Parliamentarians have a critical role of advancing child development and they can only do this effectively if they are sensitive to child issues. National assembly debates, which are sensitive to the development issues of children, are paramount in pushing for reforms that are critical in creating a nation providing children an opportunity to attain their full capacities.
With this in mind, NANGO with support from Save the Children and UNICEF, has been implementing the CFNBI whose main objective is to increase the level of and spaces for child participation in democratic development processes mainly policy planning and budgeting.
The CFNBI has been lobbying for increased public-sector investment in child friendly sectors such as education, health, child protection and social safety among others. Members of parliament were engaged by NANGO in a bid to sensitise and lobby them to champion child friendly policies and expenditures seeing as parliamentarians play the role of providing oversight on policy and legislative development as well as public expenditure management. The engagement process involved building the capacity and sensitization of parliamentarians so that they can effectively debate and lobby for the progressive realization of child rights.
Being an implementing partner of the CFNBI, NANGO facilitated the development of the Ten-Point Plan Plus with consultation from junior parliamentarians and counselors. The document is a lobbying and advocacy tool for children inclusivity in policy issues. The tool also includes issues specifically for and by children with disability. The Children Ten-Point Plan was used as a tool to influence the 2018 National Budget with specific issues towards child focused development. NANGO coordinated a post budget review with junior parliamentarians and it is pleasing to note that some of the issues raised or presented in the Children Ten-Point Plus were incorporated in the 2018 National budget.
Currently, child development issues are fragmented within various ministries coordinating piecemeal child development issues. These ministries include the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Ministry of Health and Child Care and Ministry of Home Affairs amongst others. Lack of a clear institutional framework that can act as a one stop shop for child development issues creates gaps which Parliament should address as they carry out their work.
Senior Social Policy, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Onias Munamati, (right) posing next to
one of the child champions, Shamva South MP, Joseph Mapiki.