SOS Children’s Villages in Collaboration with the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office organized a media training to sensitize journalist on alternative care options in particular foster care. In attendance during the training were six different media houses, with a total of twelve journalist who were trained and given a media package consisting of the UN Guidelines on alternative care; Eswatini Guidelines on Alternative Care amongst other child protection laws related documents.
With the upcoming foster care media campaign to be launched prospectively on 15 March 2021, SOS Children’s Villages Eswatini together with the DPMO’s office, ensure that the media has a buy in first, and are trained to understand the situation of children without parental care in the context of Eswatini. Discussing in particular the solutions to those problems, as well as the media’s role in the matter.
During the training, which was held at the Hilton Gardens inn hotel, it was highlighted that Eswatini has about 40-child care Centre’s, of which the Government only owns and manages one of them. These Centre’s cater for over 2000 children, who are in need of parental care, making foster care a need in Eswatini, said Sindi Dube, Director of the Department of Social welfare.
The media will be very instrumental in assisting to educate the Swazi nation about foster care and alternative care options as a whole, since it is a new concept in the country. During several presentations, it came out well in a research study done by SOS Children’s Villages Eswatini in the Shiselweni Region, that Swazis are used to taking care of children within their extended family settings, making kinship care an informal care option that is commonly practiced. However, the issue of children without adequate parental care is prevalent in the country as more homesteads are child headed.
Makhosini Mndawe, Principal Secretary of the Deputy Prime minister’s Office said ,” the Government is working tirelessly in formalizing Alternative care options for Emaswati, in particular implementing foster care to support the needs of children without parental care”, when talking to the media during an interview. He further thanked SOS Children’s Villages for the support in taking initiative to work with Government in solving these issues. The success of the training was visible as the media was commenting and publishing stories of the training on-air (Television and Radio) and on Print. Both major newspaper covered the article as well as an online source. Together these media platforms reach more than 500 thousand audiences.