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Children travel from across Sierra Leone to have their say on Government budget

Children travel from across Sierra Leone to have their say on Government budget

Freetown, 4 November 2015 – For the first time, children from across Sierra Leone will this week participate in Government discussions to draw up the 2016 budget in the capital Freetown.

Each district is sending a boy and a girl to the deliberations which will make key decisions for the allocation of government spending in the New Year. The event will bring together 28 girls and boys with 4 social workers from the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs (MSWGCA) to oversee them, supported by UNICEF.

“Despite making up nearly half of the population of Sierra Leone, children until now have had very little chance to participate in the budget process,” said Geoff Wiffin, UNICEF representative in Sierra Leone. “We think it’s vital that children’s voices are heard and taken into account because there are three million children who will be deeply impacted by whatever decisions are taken.”

On 6 November after the presentation of the budget at the Parliament by the Honourable Minister of Finance and Economic Development, the children will be given an opportunity to discuss with the MPs. They will have the chance to raise requests and concerns for the different sectoral committees to discuss. The parliamentarians will be involved in key decisions with regards to investments in education, health, child protection and other services for children and their families.

As a follow up to the presentation, the children will meet the Ministers of Finance and Economic Development and MSWGCA, and the UNICEF Representative to talk further about budget processes and decisions.

As part of preparation for Friday’s budget presentation, UNICEF organised a half day of media training for journalists on 4 November to explain the benefits of ‘child-friendly budgeting’, which is an approach that takes more consideration of how expenditure and policies affects the lives of children. On 5 November, the children will also learn about child friendly budgeting from the context of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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