Young Reporters from Bandundu raise awareness among students on the rights of the child

The Convention on the rights of the child is full of clauses for children to be not only mere beneficiaries but also, and significantly, to become key players in the promotion of their rights in their respective communities.

Article 13 of the aforementioned Convention advocates for a child’s freedom of expression in all of its forms: written, spoken, printed, artistic or other.

After being trained on the various existing legal instruments regarding the protection of children, I, Deo Kusanika, Young Reporter from Bandundu, in collaboration with Goshen Gipoy, also a Young Reporter, took the initiative to share this knowledge with other children who are barely aware of their rights.

To do this, with the support of our supervisors, we synthesized modules to be presented by the Young Reporters. Why? To reach a quicker, more direct and synthetic understanding of the Convention, of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, of the DRC’s Law for the Protection of the child, and of the Decree on the Protection of the child in DRC’s Bandundu Province.

This initiative targeted all students but, in this experimental phase, we first focussed on students in their 3rd to 5th years of Humanities Section of Kivuvu School and the Mosala Institute.

Having brought other Young Reporters on board for this endeavour, we took care to develop the terms of reference in which we explained all of the procedures for the course of the modules, the expected results and the objectives of the activity.

Having received the support of the school principal who was very interested, we began delivering the modules to the 5th year Humanities students: they also demonstrated an interest and wanted to learn more about the rights of the child. These activities were carried out in an attentive and disciplined atmosphere.

With the 4th year Humanities students, the interest was even stronger, especially with the support of their French teacher. The students asked questions to more clearly understand the violations taking place in the city, such as economic exploitation which, in our humble opinion, is the most striking violation across the city.

For us, the activity had a positive impact even though we only completed two-thirds of what we had planned. Indeed, we were not able to reach the 3rd year Humanities students due to our own final exams of the school year.

Beyond that, there were also logistical constraints because we did have enough copies of the booklet of the Convention on the Rights of the Child to hand out to students, though some were still able to photocopy the framework we used during the presentations.

Apart from that, we were able to successfully convey the message on promoting the rights of the child.

We thank the administration of the Kivuvu School and the Mosala Institute for the attention they are paying to the rights of the child and we hope that other schools will adopt this approach to help popularize the rights of the child.

We believe that this activity should be perpetuated so that more students can learn further details on the rights of the child because children who are aware of their rights can better defend themselves. The future appears rather promising for the rights of the child in the city of Bandundu: with the current initiative « children for children », we have been able to popularize of the legal instruments and several of us are starting to become more and more aware of our rights.

©
Kindly translated from French by Lisa Berthelot

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Deo

Déo Deo a 17 ans, il est enfant reporter et finaliste au collège Kivuvu à Bandundu. Il a représenté les enfants de la RDC au Forum de l'espoir des enfants à Bujumbura en juin 2014. Il fut élu ambassadeur du Forum de l'espoir et a représenté les enfants de la Région des grands Lacs au sommet Spécial de la CIRGL sur l'emploi des jeunes. Pour lui, être enfant Reporter est une opportunité qui lui permet de plaider pour l'amélioration de la situation des enfants de sa communauté

Déo is 17 years old, he is a Young Reporter and a student in final year in KIVUVU High School in Bandundu. Deo has represented Congolese childre at the Forum of Hope in Bujumbura in 2014. He was elected as an Amabassador of Hope and represented children from the Great Lakes region at the Special ICGLR Summit on Youth Employment. For him, being a child reporter gives him an opportunity to advocate on improving the situation on children in his community.

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