Guardians warned over child grants

Lesotho Times - - News - Lim­pho Sello

Euro­pean Union (EU), United Na­tions Chil­dren’s Fund (UNICEF) and Min­istry of So­cial De­vel­op­ment of­fi­cials vis­ited Nyokosoba last weekto meet ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the Child grants Pro­gramme (CGP).

The del­e­ga­tion also wanted to ob­serve the last stage of the grants dis­burse­ment, which is the pay­ment process.

The grants, which are pro­vided by gov­ern­ment on a quar­terly ba­sis, are meant to sup­ple­ment the in­come of poor house­holds car­ing for or­phaned and vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren. The money is also given to child-headed house­holds and the whole pro­gramme is de­signed to im­prove chil­dren’s liv­ing con­di­tions, en­sure ac­cess to med­i­cal ser­vices and nu­tri­tious food, in­crease school-at­ten­dance, and re­duce abuse and ex­ploita­tion.

The grants be­gan with fi­nan­cial sup­port by the EU and tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance from UNICEF in 2008, but were com­pletely taken over by gov­ern­ment in 2013.

A fam­ily with one and two needy chil­dren gets M350 over three months, while the money in­creases to M600 and M750 for those with three and four or more chil­dren, re­spec­tively.

EU Am­bas­sador to Le­sotho Dr Michael Doyle hailed the grants, which he said had im­proved the lives of needy mem­bers of so­ci­ety.

“We are glad to be wit­ness­ing the pay­ment of the grants to 450 fam­i­lies of Likolobeng Com­mu­nity Coun­cil where about 1300 chil­dren will di­rectly ben­e­fit from the cash.

“The CGP has now be­come a re­li­able source of in­come that com­ple­ments the liveli­hoods of se­lected vul­ner­a­ble fam­i­lies,” Dr Doyle said.

“Some 25 000 house­holds com­pris­ing 65 000 chil­dren cur­rently ben­e­fit from theen­tire grantspro­gramme.”

Mean­while, the CGP has grown dra­mat­i­cal­lyfrom six to 43 out of 67 com­mu­nity coun­cils coun­try­wide. The pro­gramme is ear­marked to cover the en­tire coun­try in fu­ture.

UNICEF Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Dr Tesfaye Shiferaw, who spoke dur­ing Thurs­day’s visit to Likolobeng Com­mu­nity Coun­cil Pay­ment Site in Nyokosoba, said the grants were ini­ti­ated to ad­dress poverty, which ap­peared to be the big­gest chal­lenge in Le­sotho at the time.

“Although the money does not ad­dress the chil­dren’s en­tire needs, it is still mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in their lives.

“We will al­ways be here so that we can elim­i­nate or re­duce poverty among com­mu­ni­ties,” Dr Shiferaw said.

On her part, Min­istry of So­cial De­vel­op­ment Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary Ms Li­makatso Chisepo ap­pealed to those who re­ceive pay­ments on be­half of the chil­dren to be trust­wor­thy and use the money for its in­tended pur­pose.

“This money does not fall from heaven so you must avoid giv­ing it names and use it wisely and for the ben­e­fit of the chil­dren.

“Any­one who sees the money be­ing abused should re­port such ac­tion to the author­i­ties be­cause it is meant for the sole ben­e­fit of these needy chil­dren,” Ms Chisepo said.

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