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National Forum On OVC Commences Today

Nov 23, 2009, 3:27 PM | Article By: Nfamara Jawneh

A two-day national forum on orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) is scheduled to begin today.

The Department of Social Welfare and World Initiative for Orphans (WIO) are partnering for the national event.

This was revealed to journalists on Saturday at a press briefing held at the WIO country office in Bakau Newtown. 

Speaking at the occasion, Mr.Morris I.O Anyim, WIO Country Manager revealed that the theme of the national forum is ‘Bridging the gaps,’ and will be hosted by the Paradise Suites Hotel in Kololi.

According to him, the conference will among other things, review the national plan of action on OVC. He noted that the forum is aimed at soliciting sound recommendations through holistic approach.

For his part, Mr. Maarten G.H Brekelmans, WIO Global President who arrived in the country on Saturday from the WIO headquarters in the Netherlands with two other staff purposely for the national forum, said they are pleased to come back to The Gambia.

According to him, they are a group of concerned idealists who came together to form the organisation in 2004.

"We found that the issue of orphans is not on the world agenda," said WIO boss.

He revealed that there are two hundred million orphans in the world, most of whom, are found in Africa.

"We are working together to mobilise governments to do something for the orphans," said WIO chief.  UN, he argues will not address the problem of orphans in the next five to ten years, thus the call for concerted efforts to work on the global agenda.

The Gambia, he said, was the 2nd country to embrace WIO after Kenya and announced that in six months time some 20 other countries around the work will also join them.

The national forum, he said will bring together all relevant stakeholders in the country to discuss the plight of OVC.

"We are not here to make new solutions but to continue what is being done and to make it more active," says WIO head.

He hailed The Gambia for the effects made in the promotion of the well-being of the vulnerable children and orphans.

The country, according to UNICEF, has an orphan population of forty-eight thousand, says Mr. Maarten.

"This is a real problem for your country," WIO President told journalists.

For Alice Hakvoort, Manager Academics and Studies at WIO, the issue of orphans is a global problem, noting that even Europe is facing the problem.