“16 years in Parliament and more telethons”
Fundraising telethons raising donations for voluntary organizations should no longer be organized and 16-year-olds should be allowed to run in general elections.
These are among the 100 proposals for the social sector put forward by the Dean of the Faculty of Social Welfare, Andrew Azzopardi.
Azzopardi’s proposals include a clear anti-abortion stance as he said “abortion should not be introduced at all costs”. He also said cannabis should be decriminalized but not legalized.
In an attempt to counter the fragmentation of social policy, he stressed the need to have a ministry responsible for the social sector.
Azzopardi also called for more resources for local councils who he said should be on the front lines in providing social services to residents.
In recent months, NGOs have taken to arms after the Commissioner for Voluntary Organizations introduced new rules regulating charity shops and fundraising events.
“The funds the government gives to NGOs and the funds provided by the EU should not be a carrot to make NGOs dance at their own pace. We should immediately create an autonomous foundation to allocate funds, ”Azzopardi wrote, adding that a procedure and system should be in place to ensure that funds are allocated in a fair and transparent manner.
In addition, he called for the promotion of social enterprise to reduce dependency
on the state.
While insisting that “essential services”: should be provided by government, the veteran academic and broadcaster also called for more transparency in contracts awarded to NGOs and the private sector for the provision of social services.
In what might be the most controversial proposal of the lot, Azzopardi said the various telethons organized by NGOs and voluntary organizations should become a thing of the past.
Whenever NGOs have a new project, they should go to the foundation and not beg for money. Media campaigns should be about the cause and not about donations, ”he said.
Instead, Azzopardi said, NGOs should organize telethons in which they accept support in other forms such as volunteering.
Voluntary Sector Council wants immediate suspension of fundraising rules
The faculty he heads at the University of Malta is expected to play a central role in the research, Azzopardi added.
He said the Faculty of Social Welfare should provide research to guide the social sector through empirical evidence instead of relying on gut feelings or political whims.
16-year-olds in Parliament?
Controversially, Azzopardi proposed that 16-year-olds not only be allowed to vote, but also to participate in general elections and said that “there should be a young person in every committee and government entity”.
Calling for more women to participate in leadership in the social sector, Azzopardi said, adding that “the capacity of women is very evident when they are leading organizations, showing empathy, of determination, of passion for the cause and without ego “.
Equating the environment with quality of life, Azzopardi said gentrification and the sale of public land to the wealthy have reached unprecedented heights.
“The government needs to understand that without places where people can rest and ask for help, people get sick. “
Salaries of social workers, including psychologists, social workers, educators, therapists, etc. are expected to rise, Azzopardi said, adding that it would prevent workers from seeking other jobs in the private sector.
He also called for increased protection for underage migrants and said courts should also become more child-friendly. While insisting that care orders should be issued by the responsible ministry or specialized office, Azzopardi said that “the courts are not sensitive enough because they are more obsessed with preserving their position than the protection of children’s rights and the satisfaction of ether needs “.
The prison is an abyss
Describing the so-called Corradino correctional facilities as an abyss, Azzopardi called for the creation of a structure that would see each government entity employing inmates or ex-inmates.
He also referred to the 100 proposal he released last month for comprehensive prison reform.
Tear down the CCF and build a new facility, suggests the dean of social welfare
Azzopardi added that criminal records should be reset after a certain time, except for those guilty of child abuse.
Regarding social cohesion, Azzopardi said it should be an integral part of public discourse and social policy, adding that harmony, social inclusion and communities are the response to neoliberalism “that rules the country”.
He also called for a “social guardian” in every workplace to ensure policies protect workers’ rights.