Tuesday 18 May 2021
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newtimes - 1 month ago

FEATURED: World Vision launches child protection campaign in Eastern Province

World Vision Rwanda has launched a child protection campaign, dubbed ‘It takes every Rwandan’ (ITER) in Nyagatare district in the Eastern Province in an effort to collaborate with the region’s stakeholders to end all forms of violence against children. World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organisation dedicated to working with children, families and their communities to reach their full potential by tackling the root causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. The ITER campaign, which is intended to harness efforts to increase protection of children against child labour and child sexual abuse, has so far reached over 190,000 people, including parents, children and local leaders, with training on child protection. World Vision Rwanda launched the campaign in 2018 in close collaboration and partnership with government institutions such as the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion (MIGEPROF), National Child Development Agency (NCDA), Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB), MINALOC among others. Speaking to the stakeholders at the provincial launch of the ITER campaign, on April 15, World Vision Rwanda’s National Director, Sean Kerrigan said that the campaign provides a platform for people to be aware of children’s rights and the violations that occur against them. “We hope to maintain an open dialogue about ways we can all speak up and take part in ending violence against children. Child wellbeing and child protection is fundamental in all our interventions and we work to ensure all children experience life in its fullness, “he said. Part of the activities under the ITER campaign involve working with children in schools and in the communities through religious leaders and local child protection structures such as Inshuti z’umuryango to educate communities about children’s rights and abuse. The campaign also educates on how to prevent child violence as well as how to report incidents when they occur and to ensure the referral mechanisms are simplified and understood by the children, parents and service providers. “World Vision is pleased to be partnering with the government of Rwanda and many others in order to end the exploitation of children. We don’t think there is anything more critical than ensuring the rights of children. We are very glad that government of Rwanda is taking a bold stance on ending child labor and child sexual exploitation,” he said. He said that engagement from many partners is a good move to end child exploitation and understanding how it can be done better. “We have been working together with partners to ensure children are protected and if there are child exploitation cases, they are reported,” he said. Reporting sexual and gender-based violence The event also included a consultative session on ways to establish digital platforms in reporting accurate and timely information on sexual and gender-based violence. Sean stressed that one critical thing in fighting child exploitation is understanding what is happening in the communities adding that World Vision is partnering to ensure transparency and accountability through the development of online platforms to be able to report cases of child exploitation The governor of Eastern province, Emmanuel Gasana who presided over the event appreciated World Vision Rwanda for their efforts in advocating for children as well as other key players in child protection. “We are going to intensify campaign against violence against children and child labor. We are trying to discern gaps and then increase our efforts from village level to province level. We have realised that there is a need for knowledge and capacity building at village level and above to be able to end child exploitation and therefore we will closely work with Inshuti z Umuryango (Friends of the Family),” he said. He added that the province is ready to work with partners so as to joint efforts in fighting violence against children especially in the districts of Nyagatare, Gatsibo and Ngoma with so many cases of child sexual abuse. “We have to expose the offenders so that they are punished. We hope that in one month there will be changes. We are also signing performance contracts with village leaders. The cell committee and village committee have to also sign performance contracts with households so that violence against children is eliminated,” he noted. Rose Rwabuhihi, Chief Gender Monitor of the Gender Monitoring Office reiterated that there is a need for every citizen’s responsibility to end child exploitation. “We are required to have joint efforts to end child sexual abuse. This is a national concerning issue. There are different forms of violence against the children but the most serious one is child sexual abuse. There are issues of child labor, school dropout, physical violence, street children and others. Campaigns have been there but the gap is due to lack of everyone’s responsibility,” she said. Dr Anita Asiimwe, Director General of the National Child Development Agency said that child sexual abuse could be ended as long as the whole society stands up to fight against the vice. “We have to stand together to hold accountable and punish child abusers. We have to save the lives of these children because their lives are life of the family and the country in general in the future. The family and the community should be at the centre of combating the vice because the crime takes place in the community,” she noted. She echoed that reporting the child abuse cases in the community and families in the primary weapon to pave the way for punishing the child abusers. “There has been a problem of hiding child defilement offenders. The more violence cases are reported through communication channels, the more victims and society will dare to report their cases. When the cases are reported quickly on time immediately after the crime is committed, it helps to get evidence for the crime and prosecute the child defilement offender,” She noted. Bishop John Rucyahana, the Leader of Rwanda Religious Leaders Initiative urged Faith-based organisations to intensify efforts in eliminating child abuse. “Faith-based organisations have a very big role in helping the community end child abuse. It is time they intensify their voice and combat the vice because Faith-based organisations have the platform for children’s parents and children’s education. We have all means but some have not executed their responsibility as it should be,” he noted. He warned that if child abuse issue is not addressed, the society could be lived with weak families. “The issue of Children are victims of different forms of violence such as sexual abuse, children who become stigmatized, teen mothers has an impact on the country if not addressed. The country should not have stunted and frustrated children. Child defilement offenders should be punished and rehabilitated,” he said.


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