Secretary for the Gender, Children and Social Welfare Mary Shawa says lack of an overall policy has made it difficult to effectively implement some of the ministry’s key functions.
Speaking during a USaid Health Policy Project-funded consultative meeting for the development of the policy and strategic plan for the ministry, Shawa said the ministry has been operating without guiding policies for some of its key departments, including social welfare and community development.
“It has presented a lot of challenges in terms of lack of focus on what the ministry was doing. We have a policy for gender and a policy for children, but there are no policies for social welfare and community development. There was an overall focus but focus in these specific areas was not there.
“As a result, some of the work in these areas has suffered. We have had some of our frontline staff not knowing what to do or understand what they were doing,” she said.
She said the ministry is currently consulting different stakeholders, including chiefs and community workers, on the development of its overall policy and strategic plan to help in guiding work of all departments.
“If the ministry started the process without consulting people at the grass roots it would have ended up with incomplete document. You can only touch lives of people in the communities when you provide what they aspire to have,” said Shawa.
She said the ministry’s previous consultations with the grass roots showed that communities wanted the adult literacy and home craft workers’ programmes back in the villages.
Apart from gender, children affairs and social welfare activities, the ministry is also consulting stakeholders on coordination of work by non-governmental organisations, resource mobilisation, knowledge management and communication, among others.