KATONGO LUMPA, Lusaka
EVERY child has the right to be educated, taken care of and supported as they grow up.
They have the right to be protected from abuse, neglect and violence and to be assisted to accomplish their dreams through education.
However, children around the world are denied enjoyment some of these rights.
An estimate of 400 million children, according to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Report of 2015, still live in extreme poverty.
The report also reveals that one in 20 children die before they reach the age of 5, mainly of preventable diseases like malaria and malnutrition.
With the vision to create a safe environment for deprived and vulnerable children, various organisations across the globe invest their considerable resources and look into the welfare of children.
Child Fund International being one such organisation works for the well-being of children in 30 countries around the world.
In Zambia, the organisation supports locally-designed child-related initiatives in health, nutrition, education, livelihood and early childhood development.
Over 1, 000, 000 children, youth and their caregivers were helped by the organisation since its inception in the country in 1983.
And upon launching of the organisationâ€™s Africa regional office in the country, the Child Fund International is presumed to have increased the number of children it supports, and thus strengthening its partnership with Government.
On November 25, 2016, Child Fund relocated its regional office from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to Lusaka.
And during the launch, Minister of Foreign Affairs Harry Kalaba assured the organisation that Government will continue to create a favourable environment for international non-governmental orgnisations in the country.
Regarding the relocation of the Child Fund regional office, Mr Kalaba said the initiative is a welcome development for the country as it would create development opportunities for the Zambian people.
â€œChild Fund International joins over 100 international non-governmental organisations that have set up their base in Zambia owing to the peace that this country has continued to enjoy since its independence, 52 years ago.
â€œI wish to assure all the international organisations that Government would continue to provide the necessary support as we know that their role is critical to fostering the countryâ€™s economic development,â€ Mr Kalaba said.
He said the move by Child Fund International is a clear demonstration of the confidence international organisations have in Zambia.
And Mr Kalaba saluted the organisation for its efforts in supplementing government efforts in uplifting the living standards of the vulnerable in the country, especially children.
He stressed that the launch of the Child Fund regional office in Zambia marks a new chapter in Governmentâ€™s quest to partner with other development players in the delivery of quality services to vulnerable children and their families.
After recognising Mr Kalabaâ€™s commitment to the organisationâ€™s cause, Child Fund International regional director for East and Southern Africa Victor Koyi applauded the peace that Zambia has upheld since its independence.
Mr Koyi said the country is a hub of peace and presents growing potential for entrepreneurial activities in spite of the growing insecurity faced by many parts of the African continent.
â€œZambia has increasingly become an international centre for hosting international organisations and a high profile centre for regional peace and security,â€ Mr Koyi says.
He commended the countryâ€™s geographic position in East and southern Africa, saying it is strategically positioned to enhance social, political, and economic linkages with other countries in the region.
â€œFor us at Child Fund International, the launch of the Africa regional office in Zambia is an exciting time as we join other regional bodies housed in this peaceful country and contribute to socio-economic development,â€ Mr Koyi said.
He said the 10 countries in which the organisation is operating will continue being supported from the new regional office which is now in Zambia.
For more than 75 years now, Mr Koyi said, Child Fund International, remains dedicated to improving the well-being of poor and abused children in the world.
Further on, he disclosed that Child Fund International invests approximately US$125 annually in child development efforts in insuring quality service delivery to the African continent.
With Zambia now holding the organisationâ€™s Africa regional office, Mr Koyi appealed to the different development players in the country to support the organisationâ€™s efforts aimed at ending any form of violence against children.
KATONGO LUMPA, Lusaka