Namibia child’s day celebrated at Grünau

Some residents of Grünau settlement in the ||Kharas Region joined the Geduld Primary School learners and teachers on Thursday to commemorate Namibia Child’s Day. This year, the day is being commemorated under the theme ‘The rights of the child in the digital environment’.

In a speech read on her behalf, Minister of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, Doreen Sioka, said, ‘Meaningful access to digital technologies can empower children to realize their civil, political, cultural, economic, and social rights, as it provides them with a platform to have their voices heard and participate at various levels.’

The minister stated that children have the right to access information and engage in the digital world; however, it is the responsibility of adults to ensure that children have equal and safe access to the wealth of knowledge and resources available online. She noted that efforts must be made to bridge the digital divide, ensuring that no child is left behind due to economic, geographical, or social barriers.

Sioka emphasized that to support these efforts, it is crucial to establish a legal framework to regulate online activities in the country. She called on the Ministry of Information Communication and Technology to expedite the passing of the cybercrime Bill, stating, ‘This legislation will provide regulation and protection for children in the digital world, preventing and punishing online child exploitation, including grooming and child pornography.’

She stressed that protecting the rights of children in the digital environment is not solely the responsibility of the government and industry leaders but requires a collective effort from parents, educators, the private sector, civil society organizations, and the broader community. Sioka added, ‘We need to promote digital literacy and education for children, parents, and educators alike. Schools should integrate digital literacy into their curriculum, teaching children about online safety, privacy, and critical thinking.’

Marizol Pieters, a learner at Geduld Primary School, said, “I am proud to be a Namibian child because, as a Namibian child, I am able to go to school and get free education. We children also have rights that protect us, and in our country, we are able to express ourselves fully without being harmed, like in other countries.”

Source: The Namibia Press Agency