Africa-Press – Lesotho. The Ministry of Social Development’s (MoSD) Child Welfare and Protection Service has re-launched the Child Helpline Lesotho which is aimed at handling cases of abuse and violence against children in Lesotho. The launch was officialized by the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Hon. Keketso Sello, on behalf of the Minister of Social Development, who received the Call Tracking System from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Lesotho. The call tracking system has been recently installed and linked with the 116 toll-free child helpline to enhance service provision. Hon.
Sello indicated that the Child Helpline Lesotho was established in 2008 as an initiative of the then Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MoHSW) and was initially funded by the Global Fund and UNICEF, with the objective of handling cases of violence against children in Lesotho. He said currently the MoSD is managing the Child Helpline, with support from UNICEF Lesotho and Karabo ea Bophelo,
the USAID and PEPFAR funded project. He also added that the helpline is a 24 hours free helpline. In an Interview with Informative Newspaper, the Ministry of Social Development Director Child Protection Services Mookho Motheo Lekhanya highlighted that the call tracking system is aimed at monitoring the time taken by the person on the other side of the line to answer the call and also reflect and register the call as soon as the caller dials the number.
The helpline is a referral system for children, which is used in terms of emergencies when a child have been abused sexual, neglected or has problems regarding economic related issues. The Call Tracking System works hand in hand with the Helpline in that it can monitor the number of cases received and immediately detect and view the case. We have received about 1891 calls since the helpline started working but only 88 of them were confirmed cases,” she said. She added that among other things they also encounter challenges which include IT hiccups and children playing on the line instead of reporting serious cases.
She informed that they have only one car which was donated by PEPFAR, saying she hopes they will have many cars in every district which will be used in cases of emergency.
She also said they aim to advocate for call tracking system so that every child is informed about the helpline. Ministry of Social Development Principal Secretary (PS) ‘Mantšenki Mphalane stated that the child helpline is accessible and functional to all children for reporting cases of violence and also get counselling services. She said the helpline is accessible through Vodacom Lesotho (VCL) and Econet Telecom Lesotho (ETL) networks. Mphalane further urged the children to use the landline for their own benefit and teach others to call only when there is an emergency.