Children’s Parliament crucial in curbing issues hindering child rights 

Children’s Parliament is one good platform which can help deal with rising cases of child rights abuse in the country.

Deputy Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare Agnes Nkusankhoma said this on Friday when she presided over the closing ceremony of the 6th session of Mwanza Children’s Parliament organized by Save the Children held at Mwanza Secondary School hall.

Deputy Minister Nkusankhoma

Nkusankhoma expressed worry over the increase of gender-based violence which children are facing in their everyday life such as defilement and child marriages, which she said is a big challenged that is also contributing to high school dropout.

She further said most of the areas that are registering such challenges lack civic education and a platform where children can be given opportunity to voice out their concerns to the authorities such as government officials, chiefs and political leaders.

She, therefore, applauded Save The Children and Mwanza District Council for maintaining the Children’s Parliament programme, which she said is very powerful in fighting against the violation of child rights as it also empowers the children with skills in many areas.

“It is very unfortunate that very few districts have the opportunity of conducting Children’s Parliament programs because these are very important as they sharpen children’s brains and empower them to know their rights.

The Children’s Parliament in session

“When they know their rights, they can be empowered on how they can handle issues of abuse so that every challenge they face should be reported and addressed accordingly.

“We’ve heard their resolutions and as government we promise that we’ll take them into consideration in order to end child rights abuse and I am also urging all the players and stakeholders — including parents, chiefs and religious leaders — to take a leading role in protecting children.

“Our Ministry is planning to advocate for life imprisonment for all child defilers but that will depend on how Members of Parliament will welcome our Bill and if it is going to pass it will become a law because children’s rights are being abused,” she said.

Pamela Kumwenda, Save the Children’s director of strategic portfolio,  partnerships and awards management, described the 6th Children’s Parliament session as awesome and that through the initiative there has been a great impact as children have been voicing out issues affecting them such as lack of drugs in hospitals, inadequate learning materials in schools, child abuse, climate change and many more.

“Our target was to empower children to have voice and we’ve seen them doing that and through this programme some children have improved their performances in classes,” she said.

“They are also able to stand against any temptation of gender-based issues which has given us confidence that they we will have good leaders in the future.”

Member of Parliament for Mwanza Central Constituency, Nicholas Dausi was very thankful to Save the Children for the program, which he said has brought positive change among children both in primary, secondary and tertiary education.

He said with the current economic hardships there is a need to thank such well-wishers for putting life of children at heart because government alone cannot manage to reach out in every areas.

The programme was organised in conjunction with Security Children’s Rights Through Education and Protection (SACREP) with fund from NORAD.

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