Ministers Pledge to Support Protection of Children’s Rights 

  • Junior minister calls for establishing specialised children units
  • Reveals govt spends more than P240m on children annually
  • Gender minister points to connection between child labour and poverty

At a joint regional child rights conference and Children’s Helplines Summit in Gaborone recently, ministers have affirmed their support for safeguarding children’s rights in Botswana.

The Minister of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs, Annah Mokgethi, stressed the imperative to eradicate child labour because it poses a significant hindrance to proper development of children.

In her address, Minister Mokgethi highlighted the adverse impact of child labour on human rights, particularly in impeding crucial stages of a child’s growth.

Poverty and exploitation 

She emphasised the strong connection between poverty and child labour, noting its limitations on education and social mobility before declaring her commitment to breaking the cycle of poverty and exploitation.

“Ke gore ngwana wa modisa wame o ya go nna modisa wa bongwanake (What happens is that my herdsman’s child will become my children’s herdsman),” she said. “This is wrong and it must end.”

Minister Motlhagodi also attributed child labour – which is prevalent in agriculture, livestock and urban domestic work, especially affecting young girls, to lack of awareness and cultural misconceptions in which a child’s labour is often considered to be equivalent to children’s daily chores.

International partners

Botswana has actively collaborated with international partners, including the United States Embassy and Humana People to People Botswana, to address child labour through legislative measures and social programmes.

At the conference, Minister Motlhagodi announced Botswana’s “moderate advancement” rating in 2022 for its commitment to eliminating child labour, citing ratification of the International Labour Organisation’s Labour Inspection Convention as evidence of the government’s comprehensive approach.

Expressing allegiance to international conventions such as the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the minister declared Botswana’s dedication to ensuring children’s safe journey to productive adulthood.

Children’s Khumo

At the same conference, the Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Mabuse Pule, stressed the necessity of specialised government units focusing on children’s rights and welfare and advocated for Children’s Khumo after the manner of Kgomo Khumo.

The junior minister disclosed that as part of government’s commitment, his ministry allocates resources, among them P221,481.40 for orphan care, nearly P10 million in subventions for child service organisations, and P750,000 for child welfare.

A total of P241,750,540 is committed to children in Botswana annually.