An appeal made and an immediate response in favour of children !

child participation in DRCYOUNG REPORTERAlmost 2,000 students came together on Wednesday 11 October 2017 at the Sainte Germaine High School in N’djili, Kinshasa, to celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child.

An underwhelming day for children

Apart from the students who came from some schools in the educational Province of East Kinshasa, distinguished persons were present, including the National Minister for Gender, Children and the Family, the Provincial Minister in charge of Education, Environment and Gender, and the UNICEF representative for the population in the DRC.

Adults were under the tents…

As is often the case, if not always, children were under the sun while adults were under the tents. Admittedly, it was not too hot that day but the air was heavy, and the sun appeared intermittently. Some children had their umbrellas and were able to protect themselves as much as they could, but the large majority of the children did not have such protection.

child participation in DRC

… children under the sun !

Called upon to say a suitable word for the occasion, my friends and I—Nicolas, second Vice-President of the Provincial Committee of the Children of Kinshasa, and Monica, Child Reporter—decided that it was first necessary to advocate for all the children who were under the sun. After thanking the organisers of the event, Nicolas took the microphone to ask that children be under tents as well in the future.

Assuring the necessary conditions for child participation in DRC

Afterwards, Mrs. Thérèse Olenga, the Provincial Minister in charge of Education, Environment and Gender, chose not to give her speech in order to “spare the children another 5 minutes under the sun”. Even better: she then asked the school authorities to make sure that the student committees would be associated with the preparation of events that involve them. This “will give the children the opportunity to assess whether the conditions for their participation are satisfied.”

After our appeal, Mrs. Olenga called for the participation of student committee members in the preparation for events requiring the presence of students. Our hope is that this measure will be placed in writing, and that it will not be limited to children in school.

The many committees in schools and in communes are engaged in following up on the application of this measure on the ground. We will not hold back from denouncing—where we see it—the non-application of the measure!

Easy means for immediate results

To all children, know that wherever you are, measures that are favourable to children can be taken immediately. As such, do not hesitate to find the means that can produce immediate results.

Thanks to the Minister, Mrs. Olenga, for the promptness of her reaction. We hope that your reaction will be emulated among the authorities, because fulfilling the rights of the child is not complicated. It only requires one small thing: place the obligations taken under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and under the Law on the Protection of the Child, into practice.

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Mémorial est Enfant Reporter de la Ville Province de Kinshasa. Elle vient d’avoir 17 ans et s’est donné comme crédo, lutter contre toutes les formes de discrimination à l’égard des enfants, dans son milieu de vie.

Mémorial is a Child Reporter in the Province-City of Kinshasa. She just turned 17 and has given herself the goal to fight against all forms of discrimination against children in their living environment.

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