We did not know we had rights

We are young reporters from Matadi, Lower Congo since October 2014. We were trained in the CDE (Convention on the Rights of the Child) and in techniques of advocacy and reporting. It is training that we enjoyed, because before we did not know we had rights and that we could claim them so that they are respected.

As young reporters, we have the duty to teach other children our rights. After training, we drew up an action plan which has also been budgeted. Some days after training, this action plan must be filed with the Provincial Minister in charge of Gender, Family and Children. Once that was done, the Minister promised to fund the action plan for the implementation of planned activities. We await the Minister now.

Since our training, we have participated in numerous activities, like the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the CDE (Convention on the Rights of the Child). We then made a plea to the Provincial Government and the Provincial Assembly; radio and television programs; and awareness to the Rights of the Child in churches.

In our plea, we chose to raise the following points: the abuse inflicted on children in the family and at school; birth registration in the civil register; economic and sexual exploitation of children; and the creation of a Children’s Parliament.

We asked the Provincial Government to:

–        Ensure that the child is treated with humanity, in accordance with Article 19 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

–        Make sub-offices of civil status operational to facilitate birth registration.

–        Ensure that birth registration is free, in accordance with Article 16 of the Law on Child Protection.

–        That the Provincial Assembly publish an edict forbidding acts of economic exploitation of children;

–        Sensitize the community on economic exploitation of children;

–        Support the establishment of a Provincial Children’s Parliament and Children’s Committees.

Concerning our right to participation, in November 2014, we were invited by the Provincial Division of Planning to take part in pre-review and review activities of UNICEF1. We were fourth in this activity. It was the first time that we participated in this kind of activity. We were divided into different working groups. As trained child reporters, we had to shoot and ask questions to adults to ask them their impressions concerning said works. We really enjoyed our involvement in this activity. We felt valued and taken into consideration by the adults.

Now, we want to sensitize parents and political and school authorities on our rights, and also sensitize the children in the interior of our rights as children.

We thank the Division of Gender and UNICEF who trained us.

1Every year UNICEF organizes bi-annual reviews to browse the state of progress of its programs and to reflect ways to improve the results and this in consultation with its partners and especially the DRC Government.

Their advocacy in pictures : 

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Translated from French by Tahirah Charles.

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Enfants Reporters du Bas-Congo

Banda Pila, Cynthia, Mayflor, Tan-Shin et Dorcas font partie de la nouvelle génération d'enfants reporters de Matadi, dans la province du Bas-Congo. Formés cette année, nous avons hâte de découvrir leurs messages !

Banda Pila, Cynthia, Mayflor, Tan-Shin et Dorcas are part of the new generation of young reporters from Matadi, in the province of Lower-Congo. Trained this year, we are looking forward to discovering their messages !

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