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Politik, Südafrika

24. März 2009

Presidency Launches Children's Website

A colourful animated and user-friendly website (www.thepresidency.gov.za/kids) was launched at the Union Buildings on Monday, with the aim of teaching children about the Presidency and the government of South Africa. Minister in the Presidency Manto Tshabalala-Msimang presided over the launch, attended by 24 pupils from seven schools around Gauteng, who were the first to peruse the Presidency Kids website. 

The content was developed in consultation with the Department of Education and edited by a children's language editor. 

The website is meant to speak directly to pupils between the ages six and 13 and is designed in a flash format to provide an animated and interactive experience for the user. 

The website is also meant to teach and encourage pupils to use the internet.  Key content includes information about the national flag, background information about the country's president, the national anthem and other South African information of interest. 

"As a caring nation, we have an obligation to teach our children about their country and national identity. We can only do that by ensuring that children understand the national symbols. Our children should be afforded an opportunity to understand the responsibilities of the Presidency," said Min. Tshabalala-Msimang. 

She said it was the Presidency's intention to continuously improve the website so that, in future, it could include critical information such as the UN Convention on Children's Rights, and the African Union Charter of the Rights and Welfare of Children. The Ministry will help get schools connected to internet and provide computers where needed. 

The website address is www.thepresidency.gov.za/kids

Image: The Presidency

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Address by Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, Minister in The Presidency, during the launch of the Children''s website, Union Buildings, Pretoria

23 March 2009
Programme Director
Ministers
Members of the National Children’s Rights Advisory Council
Sponsors
Our Special Guests- Children
Members of the media

I would like to extend warm greetings to you all.

The deepening of democracy and access to services, especially the poor families and communities is dependent on the continuous interaction between the people and the government. This is also an imperative in the children’s sector.

In the words of one of the heroes and leaders of our country Oliver Reginald Tambo, “A country that does not value its children does not deserve a future”.

We are gathered here today to witness one of the key achievements in the children’s sector. Our children need continuous information about their rights, and of course not forgetting that rights go with responsibilities.

The Presidency initiated a process where children will be able to access interesting information on the Presidency Website. This is a good initiative and we are proud about the product. The target audience for this website is children between the ages of 6-13. It is developed with the aim of creating an interaction in terms of visual and content for children in these age groups.

The website is designed in flash to provide animated and interactive experience for the end user. Key content issues include information about our National Flag. Our children need to know the symbolic importance of the National Flag.

As a caring nation, we have an obligation to teach our children about their country and national identity. We can only do that by ensuring that children understand the national symbols.

We also deemed it important that our children should be afforded an opportunity to understand the responsibilities of The Presidency.

Our Constitutional imperatives, especially section 28 that relates to the rights of children also forms part of the website. It is our intention to continuously improve on the website. In future we will be able to include critical information such as the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the child, African Union Charter on the Rights and Welfare of children. Our children need to know all these instruments and how they relate to their well being.

I would like to encourage all role players, including organs of civil society and corporate sector to join hands with government in advocating for the protection and development of children in our country.

We would like to encourage other government departments to make webspace available and use the internet as a tool to speak to children directly, furthermore we would like to encourage other African countries to partake in such initiatives not only for their own population but also to promote information sharing amongst all African countries, so that we can understand one another as people and learn about one another''s cultures, something that will go a long way to discourage xenophobia. For the Presidency specifically, this is a start for us in trying and speak to different generations of South African citizens, through the children’s website, and through online social networking sites, for example The Presidency has recently signed up to Facebook.

I also would like to acknowledge the support we received from various sponsors in launching the Website, of course not forgetting members of different media who will help popularise this important communication platform. In particular the following organisations played a vital role in realising our launch today, i.e.

Fluorescence for the development of the website and their involvement in the project from the onset;
USAASA for the sponsorship of the computers;
Lovelife for their sponsorship of T-shirts and water bottles for the children ;
Microsoft for giving us access to their IT Learning Literacy Course and Online Certificate Courses which they have made available to the entire education community across South Africa.

Thank you

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