Millicent Mtombeni-Herald Reporter
Healthy families are vital for national development, stability, peace and economic growth, Public Services labour and Social Welfare Minister Paul Mavima said yesterday when speaking ahead of the International Day of Families tomorrow.
“Healthy families are vital for any nation’s growth, stability, sustainability and development. Families are the most meaningful vehicles for the Government to influence the living standards of upcoming generations,’’ he said.
The International Day of Families proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993 is celebrated on May 15.
Minister Mavima said the celebrations provide an opportunity to raise awareness on issues relating to families and knowledge of issues that affect families.
As part of the global ambitions of the Sustainable Development Goals, Vision 2030, African Union Agenda 2063, and the National Development Strategy 1, the Government recognises that policies play an important part in meeting targets of SDGs across the country, hence the importance of celebrating the day.
Government supports families in both rural and urban areas including the families with persons living with disabilities, step families, single parent families and female-headed families under social initiatives that enhance their well-being.
‘‘These initiatives include social cash and in-kind transfers, educational assistance, child protection services, rehabilitation of persons with disabilities and support with the establishment and sustenance of livelihood projects,” he said.
In implementing all the family related social protection programmes, Minister Mavima said the Government is guided by the international standards as well as a number of national legal and policy frameworks and the NDS1.
This year’s International Day of Families theme is “Families and New Technologies”, focusing on impacts of new technologies on well-being of families since the prolonged Covid-19 pandemic had demonstrated the importance of digital technologies for work, education and communication.
Although the process of continuous development of technologies had already been underway, he said the pandemic has accelerated technological changes both in the society, and in educational and work places, increasing resources for parents and guardians and caregivers with regard to children including those disabled.
He said technology comes with advantages and disadvantages as families can benefit from innovative ways of working and educating children, but at the same time can suffer “screen fatigue’’ from perpetually working on the computer or watching television and be the victim of cyber-bullying on the mobile phones.
In light of this year’s International Families Day’s theme, Minister Mavima said the Government is exploring the impact of new technologies on families, with particular focus on the current state and future potential of digital technologies in advancing education to improve the ministry’s child protection initiatives that enhance both the children’s and the families well-being.
His ministry is seeking collaboration with different relevant stakeholders, to analyse several aspects of technology and their impacts on families including equity, privacy, online safety as well as digital literacy and child protection.