Junior Parliamentarian Urges Government to Invest in Children

Thursday 30 September 2021

Thilivhali Vanessa Msipa, a Child Parliamentarian from Zimbabwe participated in the 2021 High Level Political Forum Side Event organised by Save the Children and UNICEF. The event facilitated an engaging debate around child-sensitive social protection, bringing together children and key stakeholders from various parts of the world in an interactive, inter-generational dialogue. The side event which was held virtually, was an opportunity to share good practices, identify new and emerging issues, and discuss how the SDGs can be used as a framework to guide recovery from COVID-19. During the event, Thilivhali, urged the Government of Zimbabwe to prioritise investing in the safety of children in response to the impacts of COVID-19. Read her full presentation below:


Thilivhali participating in the High Level Political Forum side event

The COVID 19 pandemic has plunged countless children into poverty. This has largely exposed them to various forms of abuse as well as infringement of their rights. The pandemic has also led many children to miss out on their education due to prolonged and intense lockdowns. The numbers of children being forced into child marriages have skyrocketed in urban areas and rural areas alike during the time of the pandemic. This has served as a wakeup call to various world leaders and some measures have been taken to alleviate the impact of the pandemic. Although such measures have been beneficial, much still needs to be done to ensure a sustainable and resilient recovery from COVID 19 more so in developing countries such as Zimbabwe. One way through which this can be achieved whilst shielding children from poverty and abuse among other vices is the implementation of Child Sensitive Social Protection (CSSP). Moving forward from COVID 19 era, we need to ensure that all children are able to afford a good standard of living as well as adequate protection from abuse.

Children from poor households are more likely to receive poor healthcare, suffer malnutrition and achieve lower educational results which would inevitably affect the development of the country by lowering future earnings in the labour market. Such children are likely to grow into poor adults whose children do less than they did thus leading to a vicious cycle of poverty. Child Sensitive Social Protection ensures that children and their families receive basic incomes thus alleviating the effects of poverty while also taking into account the grievances of children and their caregivers. Making social protection child sensitive would help children receive basic needs like food, health, education thus making remarkable milestones as duty bearers to according children’s rights and achieving SDGs 2 and 3. Zimbabwe is appreciated for making strides to achieve this for example the Basic Education Assistance Module and government supported COVID 19 social protection initiatives, however a lot till needs to be done taking into consideration the effects of COVID-19 on children.

Many children are unable to access the online learning platforms and corruption in the social protection delivery needs to be addressed so that children universally benefit. Child Sensitive Social Protection would play an important role in ensuring a sustainable and resilient recovery from COVID 19 while protecting children from abuse and future crises thereby boosting the economies of countries for the future by investing in children today.