All orphans to get welfare grant by 2013
Windhoek – The Ministry Gender Equality and Child Welfare (GECW) wants all orphans and vulnerable children to be under the government’s child welfare scheme by 2013. Addressing a two day consultative meeting for Chief Clerks and accountants dealing with the child grant at regional level, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary Silka Hausiku, said one of the target for her ministry is to place orphans on the grant system by 2013. To speed up the process Hausiku said the ministry had managed to purchase new computers in all regional and constituency offices to ensure that capturing of data takes place at that level. Referring to the Demographic Health Survey of 2006, Hausiku said it is estimated that there are 155000 orphans in the country and out of these, 123 748 are as at end of February 2011, benefiting from a grant of N$200 per child. The other 13 252 orphans are still not registered with the government grant scheme. Hausiku said this means there is 20.2 percent orphans not receiving the grants. The ministry needs to find them all over the country, she said. In this regard Hausiku said the ministry has embarked upon an outreach exercise in all 107 constituencies to try to identify and register the remaining orphans. The ministry hosted a Business Re-engineering Process workshop this week to identify challenges faced in the child welfare grant system. Among the key challenges identified were lack of social workers in the country, insufficient state doctors in the regions, lack of office equipment at regional and constituency offices and the problem of acquiring national documents. Participants stressed that administrative clerks carry out the actual processing of applications for the maintenance grants. The Ministry GECW consider this a manageable task with current staff capacity, even with the increasing numbers applying to register, since the bulk of the work is done before reaching office level. However, the greatest bottleneck is in applying the foster and disability grants, Foster grants processing is also hampered by the legal process – a court order is required to approve a foster placement, and there is only one magistrate dealing with this per region. Shikongo said, the Ministry GECW are aware that the current programme is largely focused on material assessment and support to OVCs. They hope to develop a combination of services that would more broadly address quality of life for these children and for assistance to include psychosocial care.