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By: Valeria Handobe

The University of Namibia (UNAM) in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication, and Social Welfare (MGEPESW) has officially launched the Child Research Initiative and Training Conference (CRIT) to address the challenges faced by Namibian households providing foster care for children below 18 years.

The three-day event, themed “Thriving Children and Families,” focuses on advancing the well-being of children and families through evidence-based approaches, multidisciplinary collaborations, and strategic partnerships. Speaking at the official opening, the Child Research Initiative and Training Project Lead Dr. Ndilimeke Nashandi highlighted the critical need to address the fading extended family support system in the country.

Dr Nashandi emphasised the importance of the conference’s theme, “thriving children and families,” as it underscores the importance of adapting systems to provide adequate resources for foster families to offer care and support “Indications are that the extended family support system is fading.

This is largely due to socio-economic disparities that exist in the country. The theme of the conference suggests that for children to do well, systems should adapt to make available resources, so that families provide adequate care and support. It is therefore critical that Namibia utilises evidence-based solutions to maintain this resource,” stated Dr Nashandi.

The Acting Executive Director of the Ministry of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, Nichlas Mbingeneeko, highlighted the government’s commitment to protecting children and enhancing their well-being. He stated that the ministry wishes to push for the establishment of a regulatory body to oversee research involving children in the country, aimed at ensuring the well-being of children participating in research and to uphold ethical standards among researchers.

“As the Ministry responsible for ensuring children’s well-being in all areas, the Ministry wishes to push for the establishment of such a body to ensure that any person, institution or entity conducting research in Namibia where children are participants does not cause harm to the child and that researchers’ conduct is beyond reproach.

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