By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK The Deputy Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Angelika Muharukua, has strongly urged social workers countrywide to educate disadvantaged communities about the importance of obtaining death certificates to avoid disappointment when the need arises for the registration of orphans and vulnerable children to receive grants. This follows complaints from the Ovahimba and San communities that OVC are denied registration to benefit from government grants as they lack proof that they are indeed vulnerable. “Talk to the Himba and San people. When they lose parents, they should go to the police or local authorities to acquire a notice of death. Do not send them away because they do not have the required documents. Help orphans,” Muharukua appealed. Community mobilization, she added, remains crucial to a social worker. She said social workers should establish regional forums that will enable people involved in OVC-related activities to come together and discuss and coordinate responses to the OVC crisis affecting Namibians. Social workers should ensure that the rights of OVC such as education, protection, care and support are met, the deputy minister remarked during the closing ceremony of a Monitoring Evaluation Review workshop held recently. During the three days, participants finalized the definition of Orphans and Vulnerable children and further adopted the monitoring and evaluation framework for the National Action Plan. Social workers used the same platform to define who qualifies for OVC grants. It was discussed that under foster care placement grants, a child can only benefit if both parents are dead, or if one parent is dead and the other biological parent is unknown, or if the whereabouts of both parents are unknown. Maintenance grants are given if one parent is dead and the surviving parent is unemployed or earning less than N$500. Under the disability grant, the beneficiary will receive assistance if the breadwinner in the family is disabled. Thus, children under the age of 18 years are eligible to receive grants. For the maintenance and foster grants, the children have to attend school for the guardian to receive the grant. Muharukua says the review of monitoring and evaluation workshop was long overdue, and the outcome should thus provide a framework on which the OVC National Plan of Action performance will be predicted, measured and improved. The number of OVC is increasing, and it is estimated that by 2021 Namibia will have approximately 250ÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒ…ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â 000 OVC under the age of 15 years. According to the 2001 census, there are approximately 97ÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒ…ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â 000 children under the age of 15 who have lost one or both parents.