Amani Festival, a beacon of hope and peace for children

For 5 years now, the city of Goma has been regularly hosting the great Amani Festival. A festival that brings together people from different parts of the city, the country and from abroad. This event’s speciality for us, the Young Reporters, is that we have the opportunity to express ourselves and show the festival-goers the work we do. This year, we have chosen to work around the theme, “For every child, dreams”.

An occasion to talk about everyone’s rights and obligations

For 3 days, our stand received the various festival-goers and they were made aware of children’s rights, starting with a photographic exhibition on children’s dreams. “This exhibition was very important. We can remind parents that we, as children, have dreams but they are responsible for helping us to realise our dreams by covering our basic needs,” says Ketia, 14.

What’s more interesting is that the festival was the opportunity for the new Young Reporters to speak and express themselves for the first time. Naomie, for example, sees the Amani Festival as an opportunity where all children can talk about their rights. “I am proud to participate in the Amani Festival, especially on the stand for young people and children. I had to make children aware of their rights, including many children who weren’t aware of their rights.”

What most interested Ramazani, for example, was the conference, “Children not soldiers”. “It was a pleasure participating in the conference. The importance of this conference was to remind all the festival-goers that a child’s place is not in armed groups. I am committed to fighting against the recruitment of children into armed groups.”

Raising awareness amongst the festival-goers of the fight against the involvement of children in armed groups was especially important. In fact, this is a reality in our country, particularly in the east. Children are increasingly becoming victims of endless wars and conflicts. It is primarily the State’s responsibility to combat child recruitment into armed groups but also that of parents to protect their children.

A festival where all children participate in peace and joy

Thank you to the organisers of the Amani Festival and to UNICEF for setting up the young people and children’s stand. We recommend that the Congolese government encourage these types of initiatives that enable children to participate in issues affecting them. The right of participation is every child’s right, as provided for in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Let us not forget that what you do for children without children, you do against children!

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Translated from French by Daphne Wood

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Jospin Benekire

Jospin a 16 ans et fait partie de la nouvelle génération des enfants reporters de Goma. Il est également le porte-parole du parlement d’enfant depuis 2013. Il veut devenir journaliste international ou avocat des droit humains pour améliorer la situation des enfants. Ce qu’il préfère dans le fait d’être enfant reporter : « faire des articles et des reportages sur la situation des enfants pour renforcer notre plaidoyer et faire comprendre aux décideurs les problèmes ».

Jospin is 16 years old and is part of the new generation of young reporters from Goma. He is also the spokesman of the child Parliament since 2013. He wants to become an international journalist or a lawyer in human rights to improve the situation of children. What he loves about being a young reporter: "make articles and reports on the situation of children to strengthen our advocacy and expose the problems to the policymakers."

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