“Hustlers in Action”, one of our out of school youth groups, asked us to support them to facilitate a Child Participation Process with children in their community. We were so excited that this request came from them. Nontobeko Mpungose, our Child Protection Officer trained and supported this group to run a 9 session process with 50 children that ended in a community based event run by the children in the group.
Our Child Participation process is based on that developed by ChildtoChild (www.childtochild.org.uk), and has been adapted to our South African context. To date, dlalanathi has run x number of child participation processes in 3 communities around Pietermaritzburg. One of the first activities is mapping the issues that children feel most affect them in the community.
This poster shows rape and abuse as the most prevalent issues for them in their community.
Over the 9 weeks children got to discuss these issues. They were invited to do research on the topic and then come up with an event that would enable them to voice their concerns and what they need from their families and the community to protect them.
The day of the Child Participation Event children made banners that communicated key messages that express what they are asking of their parents and their community to do in response to Rape and Child Abuse and they walked them through the street for everyone to see.
These children were very clear with their message. “When we tell you that we are being abused we want you to listen, we want you to believe us, we want you to take action”. One child’s message was “Dads stop abusing us, Uncles stop abusing us. We want protection from you".
This was a deeply sobering event.
One parent got up and spoke at the close of the event. She said that she did not understand what the group was about that her child was going to every Saturday morning. Normally her child would go to the soccer field in the morning but now they wanted to attend this group. She said that she has observed changes in her child over these week and that this makes her happy. She expressed that she is in full support of the group and that the work they have done to raise these issues has opened her eyes and she will take these messages seriously.
We are incredibly proud of the bravery shown by these children as they ask for what they need, what they have a right to from their parents and their community. There is no child protection without child participation.