Senior Assistant Council Secretary at the Maun Administrative Authority (MAA) Uyapo Mafunye says council will continue to crack a whip on unscrupulous and fake Non-Governmental Organizations that have mushroomed in the Ngamiland District. Although he could not provide the exact number of such NGOs, he said the ongoing assessments will determine if they should still close more.
That, she said will be determined by the outcome of their findings. He said most of these NGOs are headed by fraudulent people who do not even possess the necessary requirements of operating safe houses or institutions offering care to vulnerable children particularly.
As it the case in towns and major villages, Maun has also become a place where children and youths freely roam the streets with nothing to do. Most of these are from child-led households whose parents are either working at camps in the delta or are reluctant to send them to school. Some of them however are uncontrollable school dropouts who just prefer to wander the streets as there would be no one ensuring that they attend school or are engaged in other tasks keeping them away from the streets.
Addressing stakeholders at a workshop that discussed issues surrounding the best interests of children, Mafunye said the welfare of children should always be considered as it involves people who are reliant on their caretakers and cannot do a anything for themselves as they are incapable. Over the past years, he said some NGO’s had taken advantage of children’s vulnerability to solicit funds from unsuspecting donors, especially in the Ngamiland District where illiteracy and poverty levels are extremely high, adding that MAA will do everything in their power to discourage such people. He said it is important that NGO’s build professional networks.
The council boss went on to say the move to close these unregistered NGO’s came about after realization that some people had bypassed laid down procedures and had continued to accrue funds for own benefits, later at which they channel accumulated benefits to their own private businesses.
“These are pathetic practices. Mind you, some of them rent rooms in the village with the pretext that they will be taking care of children, only to disappear soon after they have satisfied their needs. They take advantage of vulnerable children and think they can use them to push own agendas. This is why it is important for you (NGO’s) to stop working in isolation, and instead put more emphasis on partnership and the spirit of working together. Where possible, please come on board and assist Council get rid of these people, because at the end of the day we are duty bound to see to it that the welfare of children in this district is taken to another level”, he said.
Meanwhile Coordinator at Bana Ba Letsatsi (BBL) Margaret Morris told the meeting that the centre, which is well-known for empowering orphans and vulnerable children is in desperate need for any form of support. She said there are so many indicators which show that communities do not support them, adding however that they will not be discouraged by such, as their aim is to see children become productive members of the society. Morris further said it seems the extended family set up is slowly dying away, considering the many mothers who frequent the centre hoping to dump their children there and disappear.
By so doing, she said they now want to derail them from their core business, which is to offer care and tuition to children and later release them to go home until the next day. “They tend to forget that we do not have boarding facilities at our centre. We need and lack resources because even the council is not helping us resource wise. We are very challenged because we take care of abused children whose parents are either negligent, and in some instances very uncooperative. Our wish has always been that funds permitting, we will have a larger plot where children will be taken care of on full time basis”, she said.