The Government has started piloting a Children First Software (CFS) application that will provide a database of the vulnerable people in the country in order for them to receive support from their households as opposed to being institutionalised in centers. Minister of Community Development and Social Services Emerine Kabanshi says the Government will next year implement the CFS program and share it with other regional countries in an effort to end institutionalisation of the underprivileged people in communities and children on the streets.
Ms. Kabanshi says the technological tool will enhance her ministry’s mandate of providing social protection programmes by tracking down families of the underprivileged people and street children that are institutionalized in various centers across the country. She said Government is fighting institutionalisation in addressing the plight of the vulnerable so that they are reintegrated in families and supported from their households where they are loved and cared for.
The Minister said this at the Global Child Protector Symposium and Conference held in Washington D.C, USA on Thursday, November 9th, 2017. The conference which has been organized by “Both Ends Believing” has attracted 18 member countries, U.S government officials, NGOs, child welfare experts. “Both Ends Believing” is an organization working to end the global crisis of the world’s most vulnerable children.
Ms. Kabanshi says the organization will be in Zambia next month to work with officials in her ministry to compile data of the vulnerable in the country. She said once implemented in the country, Zambia will then share the CFS program to other countries in the Southern African region.
And speaking to Diplomats at the Embassy of Zambia in Washington D.C, Ms. Kabanshi says Government has been working with other cooperating partners such as the World Bank in coming up with a programme of a single registry of the vulnerable people in the country. She, however, said some NGO have not been using the single registry hence the CFS program will help to provide data and avoid duplication of social protection programmes to the vulnerable. Ms. Kabanshi further noted that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) social protection funded programme will be enhanced by the data that CFS program will provide.
“We will start with Lusaka, Central and Copperbelt provinces and move to other parts of the country. We as leaders have received President Edgar Lungu’s directive in his address to Parliament to reduce poverty from 54.4 percent to 20 percent very seriously. And so far from the time, we assumed office in 2011 we have managed to increase the number of beneficiaries on social cash transfer,” she said.
Ms. Kabanshi says Government is targeting to put over 700,000 families (seven hundred thousand) on Social Cash transfer and called on NGOs to be more accountable and transparent in their activities so that Government can reach up to 1 million households from the estimated 2.5 million households of the vulnerable people in the country. She further urged Diplomats to play an oversight role over USAID and President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) funded programmes because Social protection programmes are now linked to nutrition and HIV/AIDS.