Govt urged to strengthen social service workforce for child protection

13Oct 2021
Getrude Mbago
The Guardian
Govt urged to strengthen social service workforce for child protection

CHILDREN and youth are calling on the government to think on hiring social workers in schools so as to help address various challenges facing students including provision of psychosocial support.

They made the call in Dar es Salaam over the weekend at the children’s forum organized by the Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative (REPSSI). The forum was conducted ahead of the “6th Psychosocial Support Forum” scheduled from today (October 13 to 15).

“Stationing social workers in primary and secondary schools in the country will greatly help children to get friendly and immediate support whenever they face a challenge, this will further improve learning and performance in classes,” said Ibrahim Kalimbaga, community adolescent treatment supporter.

He said social workers have enough knowledge and skills to easily identify children with psychological challenges, something that will make it easier for them to serve them.

Elizabeth Senkoro, a youth representative from Under The Same Sun said a number of children fail to achieve their dreams due to lack of close support whenever they face challenges.

“If children can be closely monitored to identify their challenges and listen to them, it will greatly help them to be comfortable and thus achieve their dreams. Most of them fear to speak out as they do not have people to speak to,” she said.

She also urged the government to improve teaching and learning infrastructures so as to ensure that people with disabilities also access education smoothly.

REPSSI country director Edwick Mapalala also hinted on the note saying that having social workers in schools was important however it may be a process in hiring them.

“The government has laws and regulations that govern several plans, so we think that if the government could put this in its plans will be very helpful, we know that there are teachers who have knowledge to care of the children but they also have other works to do such as teaching, so we need social workers who will be there to monitor and provide help to the children in needs,” she said.

Mapalala said in some countries private schools have hired social workers so as to provide closer support to children including psycho-social support.

She noted violence against children remains one of the most serious human rights violations in the country which calls for determined efforts to curb it.

She urged parents to protect their children which include monitoring their steps and being friendly and closer to them.

 “Parents and guardians should remember that they have a very big role to ensure that children remain safe, but some of them are not fulfilling their obligations well thus leaving their children in the hands of strangers,” she noted.

Karesma Mushi, programs officer at REPSSI Tanzania said the forum brought together Tanzanian children from various parts and joined others from 12 countries to discuss and air their views on what areas they want the main conference should address.

She said that the today’s main forum will discuss new measures that will help promote mental health and psychosocial wellbeing of children and youth in Africa.

Themed “Innovate. Integrate. Thrive” will be blended  by a main physical forum in Maputo, Mozambique, with satellite forums in Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe and virtual for partners from around the globe.

She said the forum will create dialogue that will lead to the development of innovations and integration in programmes that promote mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS). 

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