CHILDREN ACROSS AFRICA MEET TO SHARE EXPERIENCES ON THE EFFECTS OF COVID ON CHILDREN

Last year, in the month of November 21st, a conference was held on the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) bringing together children from different parts of Africa to discuss what the charter can do to help children promote their rights and what the children think the governments in their respective countries can do to promote children’s rights today. On the 22nd of November 2020, another conference was held whereby one child was chosen to represent all African children to recount the events that took place in the previous conference and address the main key issues affecting children. This year, on the 12th, March 2021, another Virtual Children’s Forum was organized by CSO Forum to address all the concerns raised by the children and to let them know what they have been able to do for them basing on the issues they raised earlier. The organizers also wanted to know more on what we as children think they would have done differently basing on the solutions they gave us and what they can do more to promote and protect children’s rights. Child rights experts explained to us children what challenges they encountered and how they are still looking for possible solutions to these challenges such as; failure to give feedback to the people they provide their services to and failure to be able to add CSO members to the various COVID-19 task teams. Some of the solutions by participants include; (i)The use of media houses They managed to access radio stations and television stations to help expand the knowledge of people on protecting children’s rights. This way they have been able to reach out to millions of people at the same time. They said a number of journalists have been trained to be able to write child-friendly stories. (ii)Reopening of schools The charter has encouraged various governments to reopen schools under strict SOP guidelines such as practicing social distancing, washing hands regularly, and many others to help reduce the spread of the COVID-19 and at the same time to help children in non-candidate classes catch up on the syllabus they have not covered for the long period of time. They are also advocating for the building of specific blocks in schools where suspected COVID-19 patients who are students can be treated for the meantime as they wait for their parents to pick them up. (iii)Children with disabilities The CSO Forum has also been able to provide special needs teachers for children with disabilities such as deaf children to help teach them about the Corona virus pandemic in a way that they can fully understand. Those are some of the solutions the participants came up with to help children today and moving on to what they would have done differently, when it comes to disabled children, the fact that children are slowly returning to school in various countries like Uganda where they are returning in shifts, the charter could not only encourage special needs teachers teaching about the corona virus but also help them study and adapt quickly to their completion of their syllabus and prepare for promotion to the next class. It was also suggested that governments encourage parents who can do work online to do so to avoid leaving these children home alone and idol and to reduce the risk of spreading covid 19 to their children and to spend more time with those children who have not yet returned to schools. When it comes to what more the charter can do, the charter can help discourage payment for online studies for children who are still home because of how expensive the online tuition is leaving out the rest of the children not able to and to encourage provision of good internet with a good network connection to easily access these online lessons at a reduced data expenses to include all the children who aren’t able to provide their own internet. The charter should also consider decrease of the tuition fee for children who were accepted to go back to schools and to encourage the governments to provide for these children the necessary equipment to follow the SOP guidelines like face masks and hand sanitizers. Lastly, it was agreed that schools set up counseling groups within the school environs to help those children who were traumatized by the corona virus pandemic and those girls who got teenage pregnancies to convince them to continue with their education for their future. I therefore want to thank the CSO Forum and all other partnerscharter for the effort they have made on promoting and protecting children’s rights and to continue to help and protect us chioldren from violence

Print   Email