SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda, a non-government organization working globally to meet the needs and protect the interests and rights of children continues to raise awareness of guidelines concerning the child’s rights protection.
It says the rights should be understood by different categories of people including the media.
The call was made during the two day training last week for journalists from different media houses on child’s rights protection principles.
According to Serge Nyirinkwaya in charge of capacity building at SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda, UN guidelines on alternative care for children, at international level, the guidelines were adopted in 2009.
He said that the UN guidelines define when children leave their families to be fostered and also defines their rights when they are in foster families.
“Under these guidelines, there are two main principles that are considered: understanding when it is necessary that a child leaves their family and be fostered or join care setting, in which way is sit possible to prevent such situation to happen. The principles also guide that when it happens that a child get fostered, how can their rights be respected,” he explained.
The guidelines recommend the foster families to have all requirements to be allowed to foster a child and assess when it is still necessary for the child to remain in foster family or rejoin their own family.
In Rwanda in 2012, the strategy for National Child Care Reform as well as Tubarerere Mu Muryango known as ‘Let’s Raise Children in Families program’ were approved in 2012 to improve protection of child’s rights.
“This has achieved a lot in terms of relocating children from orphanages to foster families,” he said.
More has been achieved but there is still room for improvement especially doing follow up on life conditions of those fostered children. We have to ensure if they access to all what they need and if the families are consistently supported in caring for them as well as if the communities through Inshuti z’umuryango (friends of family) and other concerned people also support them,” he said.
He said that, under laws reviewing, in August 2018 government enacted the new law on child’s rights protection, which together with local government leaders, two Inshuti z’umuryango at every village and other social activities under social protection programmes protect child’s rights.
“Election of children’s representatives also enhances their participation in programs on child’s rights protection advocacy. We still need advocacy to ensure legal status of such fostered children, how their properties are protected, ensure they benefit from child birth registration, education and others” he said.
He added that some families need to be supported in solving family conflicts, acquiring parenting skills while some need support to get out of poverty in order to help them get basic needs for their children.
“Research on conditions lives of fostered children has been conducted by NCC, we also partnered with NCC to do research on conditions of life of fostered children relocated from orphanages but the findings on the two surveys are yet to be officially released. They support protection of such children’s rights,” he added.