Children of Botswana
Realizing Children’s Rights in Botswana
In Botswana, there has been a definite improvement in the situation of children. The country’s financial and legislative efforts have been immense and the results have been experienced by the people in general. Still, certain questions concerning the well-being of children remain a cause for concern.
Realization of Children’s Rights Index:
Population : 2,13 million
Life expectancy : 64,4 years
Main problems faced by children in Botswana :
In Botswana, 30% of the population lives below the poverty line. The unemployment rate is also disturbing. The poor economy has adversely affected the children, who has experienced difficulty in accessing healthcare, nutritious food, good education and so forth.
No law expressly prohibits the mistreatment of children. The number of cases of violence and sexual assault against children are overwhelming in Botswana.
Corporal punishment occurs both at home and at school. The consequences of this are numerous. As a result, some children run away from their homes and live on the streets.
Medical care is something that is in dire need of improvement. There is a notable lack of health personnel, medicine, and medical buildings in certain areas of the country. A significant number of children suffer from various diseases such as diarrhea, tuberculosis, malaria—which, combined with a lack of adequate medical care, can be life-threatening. The poverty of families has an adverse effect on their children, who encounter numerous obstacles with regard to clean water, healthy food, and hygiene.
Botswana is ranked second in the world in terms of its high AIDS infection rate. In 2005, the number of children orphaned by AIDS rose to 120,000. The country undertook numerous efforts to reduce the prevalence of the virus as much as possible. Consequently, there was an improvement. However, a better information and prevention campaign would improve the public’s chances of avoiding certain types of transmission.
AIDS affects children in numerous ways. Those who are infected suffer all sorts of health problems. Furthermore, seropositive children are often discriminated against by the rest of the population. Yet, even those children who are not infected do not always escape unscathed: they may have lost their parents to the virus and thus become orphaned.
Botswana is inhabited by numerous minority populations. The ‘Bosjesmans’, who live primarily in the Kalahari Desert, are—on account of their ancient traditions—one of the most well-known. These nomadic people are often discriminated against by the rest of the population. Among those who are most vulnerable to segregation are Bosjesman children. Despite the efforts of some government officials, the youth of these minorities find it difficult to access the same public services as other children. They are often outcasts in their own territory and marginalized by those who are unwilling to make allowances for cultural differences.
The phenomenon of homeless children in Botswana is very troubling. Day and night, they can be found wandering the streets in search of food, water and shelter. The conditions of their existence are miserable, and they must struggle endlessly to survive.
Such children are putting their own future in peril. The environment in which they grow up is dangerous. Most of them are uneducated; hence, they have a very low chance of finding stable employment and decent compensation for their work. For many of them, their future prospects are dark and amount to dead ends.
In Botswana, more than a quarter of births are not officially reported. Thus, many children possess neither an official identity nor a nationality.
This in turn leads to difficulties in the future, since those who do not officially exist will be unable to enjoy what ought to be their rights.