Botswana Child Rights Network (BCRN) held the second Civil Society Child Rights Convention under the theme "remaining resolute for the safety of children in the midst of a global pandemic". Fifty Child rights organisations which are members of the BCRN attended the event. The event was also attended by Government officials, Non-state actors as well as Corporates.
This event was an opportunity for the different organisations to share what they do and the challenges they face. It also gave organisations the opportunities to share innovations during the covid-19 era.
There was a solidarity message from the Child Rights Network of Southern Africa (CRNSA) Regional Director Ms. Motimedi. She encouraged the BCRN to be active on their network to find ways of being self-sustainable. She recognised the good work that different organisations are doing towards child care and appreciated their efforts during the covid-19 pandemic. There were different panel discussions surrounding child care and how to improve our care in the country. However, the panel discussion that stood out most was, “Botswana Civil Societies-Beggars or partners in development”. This panel discussion stood out because as civil societies we are expected to be partners in development with the government, however, too much reliance on the government for financial support can mask the NGO and ending up being beggars instead of partners.
The main message of the panel discussion was that, as civil societies, we need to know when to say yes and when to say no. Our voices should be clear and should be for standing up for the people’s needs not for the organisation's needs. It is therefore imperative for civil societies to be independent and not solely rely on the government for funding so that they can have a voice.
Botswana Child Rights Network was birthed after SOS Children’s Villages took a leading role in mobilising like-minded organisations to join hands and speak about children’s rights in one voice. The first convention was held in 2019 and 41 child development organisations from across the country attended.