Although governments have increasingly become aware of the problem of orphans and vulnerable
children in Southern Africa, countries still lacked the capacity to effectively deal with the
problem, a regional workshop heard on Monday.
Government representatives and NGOs from Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia,
South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe met in Maseru, Lesotho, to draw up technical
strategies to deal with children affected by HIV/AIDS for the five-day meeting.
The objective is to come away with a manual to assist these countries. They all have a problem
with orphans and either don't know how to handle it, or are not sure they are handling it
properly, Amina Said, UNICEF Lesotho spokeswoman, told PlusNews.
According to Said, countries like Lesotho were in particular need of guidance. Lesotho has done
very little. There's a little bit here and there, with no streamlining and cohesion.
But there had been some movement within government department to strengthen their response to
orphans, she pointed out.
One of the delegates attending the workshop, Limakatso Chisepo, a director of social welfare in
Lesotho's department of health and social welfare, hoped the meeting would produce an
implementable work plan.
We've been attending workshops of this nature for some time now, and the main problem is there
are still not enough resources to support any projects we come up with.
She called for increased political will and practical orphan policies from the region's
governments. We need greater support and better coordination of different efforts, otherwise the
time we spend attending the workshops will be wasted.(Source: PLUSNEWS 10 November 2003).