Namibia celebrates its children

WINDHOEK: Namibia joined the rest of the world on 20 November to celebrate the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

It was the 25th anniversary of the Convention which promotes and protects the rights of children to survive and thrive, learn and to grow.

President Hifikepunye Pohamba was quoted in a statement as saying that Namibia’s signing of the UNCRC in 1990 showed the country’s pledge for improvements in children’s lives through reducing infant mortality, increasing school enrolment and ensuring that services are in place for the protection of children.

In the statement issued jointly by the Namibian Government, Santam and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Pohamba reaffirmed the relevance of the UNCRC in achieving progress in the lives of children who make up more than 43 per cent of the population.

“We have achieved many milestones which we are proud of, and it is this progress that encourages us to complete the good work that we started,” he added.

Deaths in under five-year-olds slowed down from 4 200 per year in 1990 to less than 3 000 in 2013, said the president.

Pohamba said Namibia has met its goals and celebrated a near universal access to primary education, which is a target of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and education for all (EFA) programme.

Also quoted in the statement, UNICEF country representative in Namibia, Micaela Marques de Sousa said achieving rights for children means progress towards the MDGs.

She stressed that 84 per cent of Namibians have access to water, but the country still has a large prevalence of open defecation in the southern African region, with 52 per cent of its population still defecating in public.

The UNICEF representative said the agency will continue to support the Namibian Government in using cost-effective and innovative solutions to overcome problems facing children.