Windhoek-Government must formulate and develop a policy that protects and strengthens the family unit and must do everything in its power to encourage marriage, which benefits the health and welfare of children.
That was the advice of Errol Naidoo, the founder and president of the Family Policy Institute in South Africa, who spoke at the Council of Churches in Namibia (CCN) breakfast with President Hage Geingob at his 76th birthday celebration last week.
Naidoo felt marriage benefits society at large, stressing that family is the foundation of society.
“Strong, healthy and stable marriages and families produce strong healthy and prosperous societies. This must be the ultimate goal of all governments,” he stated.
Naidoo also indicated children are most affected when parents divorce. He said most people suffer long-term psychological and emotional problems when parents divorce.
“And consequently when marriage and family break down it weakness the foundation of society, causing widespread harm to social structures. Research indicates that most social ills can be traced to the breakdown of the family unit. The moral decay and lack of social cohesion suffered by most countries today are a direct consequent of family dysfunction.”
He added that family breakdown is a major contributor to economic decline and increasing the social welfare budget makes more people dependent on the state.
Information provided by the Namibia Statistics Agency as per the 2011 Census indicates that out of 464,839 households a total of 78, 160 are single-headed households.
Also, 49,732 households are headed by men compared to 28,428 headed by women.
Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare chief public relations officer Walters Kamaya said 305,325 children received a N$250 monthly grant for vulnerable children, orphans and special/disability.
Kamaya explained the grant is given to children under the age of 16, of whom one or both parents are not working.
“It is therefore in the interest of government to formulate and develop public policy that protects and strengthens the family unit … the social chaos caused by family breakdown is well documented, however most governments lack the political will to identify and address the root causes of family breakdown and dysfunction and we have to reverse the trend,” he said.
In addition, he stated that liberal attitudes towards abortion, homosexuality, pornography, prostitution, sex education and parental authority significantly undermine and weaken family structures, which is to the peril of every person.