Donna Cox defends her ministry’s radio programme after UNC slams its relevance

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Donna Cox defends her ministry’s radio programme after UNC slams its relevance

The Minister of Social Development and Family Services (MSDFS), Donna Cox, has defended a radio programme by her ministry, aimed at helping families cope with life’s challenges.

Minister Cox has indicated that she was appalled by some erroneous statements which were made at a public forum hosted by the United National Congress, related to a Radio Programme recently launched by the Ministry.

According to the Minister: “I am quite disappointed that on a day when we are called as a nation to unite in prayer for a common purpose, another event was taking place to discredit a Programme which is aimed to provide support to our families during these challenging times”

The Radio Programme, entitled: It’s Family Time: Lets Talk was introduced in 2012, as a part of the overall commemoration of the United Nation’s International Day of Families, observed annually on May 15th. Family month is celebrated from May to June (Mother’s Day to Father’s Day) and involves a series of events including community outreach programmes, workshops and talk show appearances, via multiple media fora.
In 2020, given the unprecedented occurrence of COVID-19 and the consequent challenges faced by the diverse family units, the Ministry was pleased to host the Programme under the theme, “Coping with COVID-19”.

Its aim is to assist in addressing the socio-economic impacts of restrictive measures imposed and to provide psychosocial support to the national community. In 2021, as part of the Ministry’s ongoing commitment and thrust to promoting healthy, functional families, the programme theme was expanded to focus on Identifying Family Strengths to Overcome Challenges in a continuing COVID-19 environment.

In particular, the minister said the radio programme continues to be lauded by the national community, as an ideal avenue for families to highlight and discuss several family- related issues and to find workable solutions to same. It also provides information on how persons may access counselling, psycho-social and parenting support from the Ministry and any of its associated stakeholder partners. It is also noteworthy that the programme caters for contributions from many of the MSDFS’ partner stakeholders, including the Children’s Authority, Ministry of Gender and Child Affairs, Office of the Prime Minister, as well as the TTPS and other civil society organisations.

Issues discussed by both Subject Matter Experts and Social Workers alike, include health and wellness, domestic violence, suicide, depression and mental health, as well as child abuse and parental issues. Members of the public also have the opportunity to call in, participate and share in the exchange of ideas, experiences and workable solutions.

It is customary for the Radio Programme to be hosted on the Gem Radio 5 Limited’s i95.5 FM.
It is also carried live on the station’s Facebook page for repetition and reinforcement purposes. In the past, the Programme worked well with this station as host as indicated in the reports provided on completion of the programme each year. The programme is carried live on a Wednesday between 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm when parents and children have completed their online schooling.

As the Ministry continues to align itself with entities with similar mandates and
objectives, the Family Network, Isaac Radio 98.1 FM, with its focus on families, as evidenced by its brand and programming; was identified in 2021 as a suitable partner to work with the Ministry, through its Family Focus Programme, aired on a Saturday between 8:00 am and 9:00 am.

For this year, and for all previous years, the expenditure related to hosting the radio programme is catered for in the national budget, as part of the National Family Services Division’s allocations for the fiscal year. To this end, the Ministry also intends to expand and continue the radio programme, beyond this phase of the family month period, across other media networks, given the importance of the family, in today’s dynamic and evolving society.

The MSDFS, through the National Family Services Division is therefore confident that the hosting of the radio programme provides several benefits towards nurturing a caring society, through support and guidance to families, as well as an avenue for persons to engage staff of the Ministry.

During these challenging times when social distancing is required, the Ministry remains resolute in ensuring all of its tangible and intangible services are available to all citizens, so that no one is left behind.