- 20th November marks World Children’s Day. On this day, UN member states reflect on children’s rights and their welfare. This year, the day is celebrated under the theme “A Better Future for Every Child”. Children across the world face a lot of challenges in this era, especially those in developing countries. Additionally, Covid-19 has made the situation worse for children who are going through adversities.
- BONELA therefore joins the world to celebrate children’s rights on this special day; but most importantly to shine the spot light on the plight of children in Botswana.
- Children in Botswana experienced unprecedented levels of rights violations especially during lockdowns. Incidents of sexual abuse- defilement, incest and rape, emotional abuse and physical abuse were recorded during this period. There is evidence that rape and defilement cases were committed by perpetrators who are family members or well known to the victim. According to an article published in the voice newspaper on the 10th June 2020, there was an increase of 20% in defilement cases during the first lock down in Botswana.
- It is also widely documented that COVID 19 impacted negatively on access to education for majority of children as schools remained closed for prolonged periods of time. As a result, children missed a lot of school time. Internet based school programmes were not accessible to all students especially for children in rural areas.
- Although there is no research done in Botswana to explore the impact of covid-19 on children’s mental health, there is no doubt that this pandemic to a large extent negatively affected and continues to affect children’s mental health. BONELA has collected anecdotal data which indicates that indeed children’s mental health has been affected by this pandemic. Some children reported to have been experiencing anxiety, depression, and stress due to COVID-19 related challenges.
- BONELA therefore urges the government of Botswana through the Ministry of Basic Education, to undertake research to establish the impact of COVID 19 on children’s rights, but most importantly. The outcome of the study will inform the ministry’s efforts to develop programmes aimed at making the education system resilient to pandemics. In addition, the ministry should make concerted effort to address challenges faced by children as a result of COVID 19 in the short, medium and long term.
- BONELA remains committed to working with the Government of Botswana and other key stakeholders to make children’s rights a reality in Botswana.
For more information, contact BONELA on:
Katlego Sechele at firstname.lastname@example.org or 72282025
Cindy Kelemi at email@example.com or 72385054