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Save the children ends ‘rights of the child’ training

May 6, 2016 By Jariatu S. Bangura

 Save The Children has ended a two-day training workshop for Members of Parliament and Councilors on the promotion and rights of children and their participation in decision-making across the country.

The theme of the training was ‘Children our future: Invest in them’, implemented under a project titled: ‘Together for Children’s Rights, Strengthening Civil Society and Children to protect and promote children’s rights March, 2014 – February 2018.’

According to Child Protection Adviser at Save the Children, De Evans, they organised the two-day workshop because MPs and Local Councilors are their partners and key stakeholders in influencing development strides in Sierra Leone.

“Key to that development of Sierra Leone is the right, wellbeing and welfare of our children. We want them to think about the issues, the role that they can play in helping to continue influencing Sierra Leonean development, not only for children but for adults, and how they can work together with Save The Children, Parliament and Local Councils,” she said.

Evans went on to say that the children of  Sierra Leone were faced with many issues, ranging from basic rights and services, quality education, good healthcare, protection from abuse – sexually or otherwise, assurance of safety, caring  and a loving home, parents and good care givers.

 “They want to grow and develop so that they can be productive adults of society. These are the things that we are trying to help ensure that children have, so that they can grow and develop,” she said.

Evans reiterated that it was the role of lawmakers to make laws and make sure that the laws are enforced, while Local Councilors should manage monies in the Local Councils and monitor how development and resources are delivered.

“The informal role of MPs and Councilors is to be role models for their people. People look up to them and listen to what they have to say and   they can influence attitudes and behaviours of children,” De Evans noted, stating that she was impressed by the contributions made by MPs and Councilors in the workshop.

 “I think the training and interaction have been exciting as the MPs and Councilors were clearly thinking about these issues. They were clearly very passionate and saw it as important. They wanted to better their people and wanted to see how they can do better, as well as actively seeking participation of NGOs,” she said.

In his presentation, consultant and lead facilitator from the Advocacy Movement Network (AMNet), Brima Conteh, described exploitation asthe use of children for someone else’s advantage, gratification or profit, often resulting in unjust, cruel and harmful treatment.

“These activities are to the detriment of the child’s physical or mental health, education, moral or social-emotional development. This covers manipulation, misuse, abuse, victimisation, oppression or ill-treatment,” he said.

He said children, as human beings, are entitled to human rights, including the right to health, education, shelter, property, food, freedom of expression and movement.

Conteh maintained that being protected was the right of every child, yet some children were more vulnerable than others and need special attention.

“In addition to providing a safe environment for these children, it is important to ensure that all other children also remain protected. Failure to ensure children’s right to protection adversely affects all other rights of the child,” he said.

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