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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Govt drafts plan to end street children problem

15th May 2012
Minister for Community Development, Gender and Children, Ummy Mwalimu

The government has promised to reduce street children in the country through a strategic plan intended to involve the community in curbing the problem.

This was revealed yesterday in Dar es Salaam by the Deputy Minister for Community Development, Gender and Children Ummy Mwalimu when she briefed journalists on the International Family Day today.

According to her, the theme for the event this year is: ‘Equitable Accountability in Roles: The basis of a Strong Family’.

She said the draft outlined major strategies for combating the problem, among them being identifying vulnerable and street children in different local councils across the country.

“Currently, at least 800,000 vulnerable children and a total of 340,000 street children have been identified in 95, out of 133 municipal councils in the country.  The government continues to find good means of solving the problem in partnership with NGOs,” she noted.

The deputy minister thanked NGOs serving children for doing a number of positive things, including establishing centers for keeping street children for a while before joining them with their families.

Mwalimu called upon the society, parents and individuals to fulfill their roles because poor accountability contributes to marriage break ups, calling on them to take the responsibility of caring for orphaned and other children.

“The government is emphasizing empowerment of women to enable them take care of their families, particularly meeting basic needs such as food, shelter and education. This can help a great deal in reducing the problem of street children,” she added.

For her part, Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Community Development, Gender and Children Anna Maembe said her office in collaboration with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) would set up a ‘One Stop Center’ as per Child’s Act, which would give opportunity to children to go and present their complaints, including violence against them and also air different views.

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