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NGOs Urge Zimbabwe to Draft Child Friendly Budgets

Thousands of children face hunger, receive a sub-standard education, or face other problems that critics say could be alleviated with help from government.

Of course, Zimbabwe’s is not the only government in the world to be criticized for failing to prioritize children in their budgets. To change this, some organizations think governments should consult children when formulating their budget.

Non-governmental organisations providing food assistance to starving communities in Masvingo have called on government to consult children when formulating budgets to ensure that they are not forgotten when the country sets its priorities.

Addressing scores of children in Masvingo on Wednesday, most them child parliamentarians, the National Association of Non-governmental Organisations regional co-ordinator, Benias Tirivaviri, said many children suffer from too little food and lack of education, a situation that could be improved if the government adjusted the budget.

Mr. Tirivaviri said adults may not be the best placed to speak on behalf of children, especially when it comes to core issues like basic welfare and education.

As a result, he said, thousands of children are starving in rural communities in Masvingo while others have left school. He also believes children can learn responsibility and the importance of budgeting if they are involved in such important work from a tender age.

UNICEF representative Chipo Tonde said children are usually left out when local authorities and the central government are coming up with budgets, and the result is that children's crucial needs are ignored.

“Budgeting is not only a crucial aspect of government, it is also important in life,” said Tonde.

She said children in the province will remain poor and dependent on aid because they are not being given the chance to participate in national processes such as budgeting.

Nokuthula Ncube, a child from Bikita who attended the meeting, said several of her friends have left school and thinks government should focus on paying school fees and spend less on educational infrastructure, saying at the end of the day the infrastructure is under utilised.
Report Filed By Obert Pepukai
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