On the 16th June 2018, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as well as everywhere in the world, we celebrated African Child’s Day. In Kinshasa, an official ceremony was organised 80km from the city centre. I was nominated to moderate the ceremony, whose speakers included the Minister of Gender, Children and Family Affairs, the provincial Minister in charge of Education, Environment and Gender Affairs and several international organisations representatives.
In the heart of the action
It was all new for me as I had never done it before. Usually the Head of Protocol oversees the moderation, but on African Child’s Day, it would be me. I am very worried as I have been trained in advocacy rather than animation of ceremonies… But the day of the 16th June celebrates children and should be led by children! I will therefore ensure the animation of this ceremony and prove that a child can do better than an adult.
Everyone gets ready and finds their seats. The Head of protocol sings the National Anthem and announces to the public that the ceremony will be moderated by a Child Reporter. I find myself standing in front of a massive audience, consisting of children, teachers, mayors, organisation representatives and even ministers.
I’m getting increasingly anxious… I present the program and call the speakers, one after the other. Because of the stress, instead of calling the Mayor for his welcoming speech I called the President of the Children’s Provincial Committee, but I caught myself very quickly.
I need to make sure I’m focused to avoid another slip-up that may lead people to think I wasn’t up to the task. I started feeling less and less anxious and more and more comfortable. I carefully paid attention to the speeches so I could adapt what I said. In some cases, I even briefly commented on what a couple of speakers had said. After the last speech, I told myself that, after all, it wasn’t that difficult.
Children’s participation in DRC
Children can participate in different ways. We can plead, write articles and tell stories but we can also be at the heart of activities of concern to us. Instead of having an adult moderating, we can also let a child do it!
Translated from French by Astrid Gouriten