CHILDREN’S RIGHTS MUST BE ON TOP OF THE ELECTION AGENDA
Joining Forces Lusaka Press Statement Thursday 2nd July, 2021
By Jo Musonda
Zambia Country Director
Save the Children International
AS the nation draws closer to the August 12th General Election, we are concerned about the lack of prioritization of children’s issues on the election agenda.
The Joining Forces Alliance calls for those aspiring for political office to clearly outline the plans they have to address issues
affecting the Zambian children. In line with the agenda 2040, we want to hear how those aspiring for public office at various levels will ensure that we have a nation that is fit for
The political discourse and indeed commitments must include how the various political players will improve the national legislative, policy and institutional framework in creating a Zambia fit for children.
In particular, we want to hear commitments from those vying for seats in our national parliament on how they will advance the agenda for a child friendly national legislative environment in Zambia. We want to see the enactment of the draft Children’s Code Bill on top of the agenda for the next legislative body.
The delayed enactment of the Children’s Code Bill has denied many Zambian children who would have benefited from the progressive provisions of the Children’s Code Bill in the last 12 years since the comprehensive review of all child related legislations begun.
In addition to the national legislative environment, we hope to hear plans for education, health, child protection and child poverty. We want to know what short, or long term policy adjustments will be put in place to cushion households at risk and those negatively affected by the COVID-19.
How will they ensure that they address the legal gaps in our laws that are contributing towards children failing to attain their rights to survival, learning and protection?
We expect to hear about plans for safe spaces and recreation facilities for children at community level among other things.
How will the national budget look like in terms of education, health and social protection? Will they increase allocation towards secondary school boarding facilities to keep children, particularly girls, in school? Will they prioritise children and gender issues in the way they spend public resources?
These are among the many conversations we want to hear with regards to children.
In conclusion, the Joining Forces Alliance has noted with concern that the media agenda has significantly skewed towards the elections and the electoral processes with no particular
discussions on how those aspiring for public office will address issues affecting marginalised children.
The Joining Forces Alliance calls upon our partners in the media to be the strong voice children need during the election period. Through their interactions with those who are vying for public office, the media must ask questions on the specific plans contestants have for children.
This is for all the various levels of political office, from councillors to presidential office.
Using child friendly reporting principles, the media must seek the views of children on what they expect from those aspiring for political office.
We further call on political actors to uphold the highest standard of behaviour and avoid all forms of violence because we know that
majority of those who are attending political events are actually children.
Political spaces must be safe for all groups of people including children.
Signed on behalf of the Joining Forces Alliance
Zambia Country Director
For more information, please contact:
Malama Mwila – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Call: +260 960634830
Priscilla Chama – Email: email@example.com or mobile 260 977450009
Petronella Chindumba – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call:+260967892901
Barbara Hamoonga – Email: Barbara.Hamoonga@plan-international.org or Call: +260977425015
Kambani Phiri – Email: Kambani_Phiri@wvi.org or Call: +260957726812
Notes to the Editor:
In 2017, the six largest child-focused agencies: ChildFund International, Plan International, Save the Children International, SOS Children’s Villages Zambia, Terre des Hommes International
Federation, and World Vision International joined forces.
We aim to use our collective power to accelerate change to secure children their rights and end violence against them.
We will pilot and scale innovative and effective approaches worldwide and be driven by the voices and needs of children.