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CHIPAWO commemorates International Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse
CHIPAWO
November 22, 2005

CHIPAWO commemorated the International Day for The Prevention of Child Abuse on Saturday, 19th of November at Rusununguko Primary School in Harare.

This yearís commemoration was running under the theme building an international coalition for a culture of prevention or together let us create a culture of prevention and as part of its programming for the year CHIPAWO organized activities which included, discussions, testimonies, poems , dance, music and theatre involving two of its centres namely Rusununguko CHIPAWO Centre and Girl Power . CHIPAWO organised child to child activities lead by Girl Power as well as a facilitator Thando Makuvaza from UNICEF. The role of the facilitator was to guide the discussions and help answer some questions on child abuse which were beyond the scope of the leading group.

Thando Makuvaza gave the children a brief background about the day, "The formation of the day was a result of an NGO coalition which came together in 2001 to address the increase of child abuse especially sexual abuse by alerting Governments and civil society organizations to play a more active role in the promotion of and respect for the rights of the child (article 19 and 34 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child), and contribute to the prevention of child abuse" she said. Art. 19 states that parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child whereas Art. 34 states that parties should undertake to protect the child from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. For these purposes, States Parties shall in particular take all appropriate national, bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent the inducement or coercion of a child to engage in any unlawful sexual activity, the exploitative use of children in prostitution or other unlawful sexual practices and the exploitative use of children in pornographic performances and

This day came into place in synergy with the anniversary of the International Day for the rights of the child (20 November) which has as its objective to be a rallying point around the issue of child abuse and the need for urgent effective prevention programs. Thando also talked about the different types of abuse which include sexual, physical and emotional. The children were split into three groups where they required to come up with presentations to do with child abuse. All the groups came up with dramas and it was not surprising to note that their understanding of child abuse was sexual abuse towards the girl child. We had about forty children who participated in the events of the day.

All the childrenís presentations and questions were based on both sexual and physical abuse. Child abuse, especially sexual abuse, is a universal and alarming problem and increased attention, efficient protection skills and prevention measures are necessary at family, local, national and international level.

After a long tradition of silence, sexual child abuse is being more and more denounced and becoming a public and political topic.

According to Womenís World Summit Foundation (WWSF), over 1 million children are pulled into the sex trade each year. Almost daily we hear of new child abuses, and even employees of respected international institutions have been found to be involved in sexual abuse. It is clear that an intelligent and effective approach to this problem consists in increasing prevention measures and protective skills, raising public awareness and encouraging denunciation of abuse.

Basing on the childrenís presentations thereís need for communities as well as the government to create awareness on the various forms of abuse and the reporting channels. Girl Power is an all girls group which uses the arts in educating other children about the issues affecting the children but putting more emphasis on the girl child. Some of the issues include HIV and AIDS, girl empowerment, gender and abuse. This yearís commemoration comes in the light of an increase in rape cases that are being reported and the children felt that there are more cases which are not being reported either because of the fear of victimisation and/ or lack of knowledge.

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