THE issue of the difficult economic circumstances that the country faces is one that everyone from individuals to the Government is grappling with. What is worrying, however, is how different people cope amid the difficulties that have seen vulnerable sectors of the population become even more vulnerable. A rapid increase in crime can be a measure of the difficulty that populations could be facing as desperation may lead some people to dispense with their values and delve into areas that they would otherwise not consider during normal times.
Elsewhere in this edition we carry stories on the impact of food shortages and the general economic hardships that have seen an increase in child prostitution and child marriages. It would appear some of the girls are lured by the money that gold panners have since they get paid for the yellow metal in hard currency. It is also reported that some desperate parents, due to hunger, were encouraging their children to join the world’s oldest profession to put food on the table. This is quite worrying and we hope that the Government and its partners shall step up and strengthen safety nets so that those that opt to go into prostitution do not do so due to the desperation caused by hunger, but out of choice.
In this age of serious infectious diseases, we shudder to think what sort of generation is being produced if many of our young people lack morals and join prostitution at a young age. While several interventions, including education on the dangers of contracting disease, are being rolled out to populations around the country, once confronted with a life or death situation, many people throw caution to the wind.
We have had assurances from Government that no one will starve, but communities find themselves under difficult circumstances and many have run out of food reserves and this situation is likely to continue until the next harvest season in April 2020.
While plans should be in place to ensure our people do not starve, there should be immediate plans as well to ensure that this agricultural season is successful so that we are guaranteed of improved food supplies next year. Whatever interventions are put in place, it is key that they are gender sensitive so that we do not overburden the already vulnerable populations, the women and children, especially the girl child.