- Resourcing children’s agenda through funding bodies on the agenda
- Adopting technologies to enhance children’s protection and rights to be considered
- State funding of NGOs without compromising their independence up for discussion
A Children’s Summit scheduled for November 28 to 30 in Gaborone, will focus on key issues like financing and strengthening civil society organisations.
Organised by Childline Botswana Trust, the summit aims to develop and adopt a roadmap for resourcing a children’s agenda through funding organisations, address child welfare and protection, mobilise governments to strengthen Child Helplines, and share emerging technologies to enhance children’s protection and rights.
According to the Communications Officer at Childline Botswana, Gaone Chepete, the overall objective of the summit is to provide a platform for dialogue and engagement to promote practices and policies that fulfil children’s rights and welfare.
Child Helplines in the southern African region meet bi-annually to reflect on the state of children, evaluate their contribution, and share experiences and best practices in providing services for children.
But the issue of financing NGOs by the state has generated mixed reactions within civil society.
Some argue that state funding threatens NGO activism and operational independence while others emphasise the importance of collaboration, especially in providing essential services like child welfare and protection.
University of Botswana academic Kenneth Dipholo has criticised the direct involvement of the state in charity work, arguing that it may stifle innovation, limit the ability of organisations to think independently, and promote mono-culturalism.
Partners in development
He has suggested that the state should focus on supporting NGOs to operate in a system combining philanthropic work and state welfare programmes.
Speaking at the Civil Society Child Rights Convention in 2020, the Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Setlhabelo Modukanele, emphasised the critical role of NGOs as partners in the country’s development agenda, recognising their contribution to the development landscape.