Gender ministry in need of social workers

Hertta-Maria Amutenja

Given the rising number of orphans and vulnerable children in Namibia, the Ministry of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication, and Social Welfare (MGEPESW) is in urgent need of additional social workers, according to a report by Auditor General Junias Kandjeke.

Kandjeke’s follow-up performance audit report, covering the financial years 2019/20 to 2021/22, highlighted the critical requirement for more social workers within the ministry.

The initial audit revealed that an alarming 57 percent of social worker positions were vacant. However, a subsequent audit showed substantial improvement, with only 16 percent of these positions still unoccupied.

Considering these findings, Kandjeke recommends that the ministry collaborate with relevant stakeholders, including the Office of the Prime Minister, to devise strategies to address the needs of the increasing population of orphans and vulnerable children effectively.

The audit also discovered that the Ministry of Education (MoE) had allocated and approved N$3,000,000 for the Education Development Fund, specifically for supporting orphans and vulnerable children from 2020/21 to 2022/23.

“Among other activities were the procurement of basic educational needs including accommodation and hostel fees, and procurement of special devices and equipment for orphans and vulnerable children. The Ministry of Education also issued a directive on how to utilise the Fund, which included provisions for orphans and vulnerable children,” Kandjeke said.

However, it was found that some regions did not benefit from this Fund. Kandjeke has advised that the Ministry of Gender liaise with the Ministry of Education to ensure the Fund’s availability is effectively communicated to all schools nationwide.

He stated that this measure would ensure the inclusion of all eligible beneficiaries from every region in Namibia.

Moreover, the report underscored that the Ministry of Gender, especially through the directorate of Child Care and Protection Unit, had not optimally utilized its budget allocation for orphans and vulnerable children during the reviewed financial years.

Despite facing budgetary constraints, the ministry returned substantial portions of its allocated funds through virementation while underspending occurred even as the ministry grappled with addressing the needs and providing counselling services to orphans and vulnerable children across the nation.

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