Local leaders have been urged to involve children in planning and budgeting as they constitute a key component of the population.
Marcel Sibomana, the head of programme promoting child rights in Save the Children, said involving children in national planning and budgeting should be a solution to different issues which affect them.
In project called Accountability for children’s rights implemented by Save the Children in its pilot phase in Nyarugenge and Rutsiro districts from 2016, children meet at grassroots groups and are trained about planning and budgeting then after they give their views to districts, he said.
“They are trained on how national budget is prepared and district budget execution as well as their contribution,” said Sibomana.
Sibomana said by involving children in planning and budgeting, the little money which is allocated to sectors would leave impact on children’s lives.
Jeremie Byiringiro, a 13-year-old boy from Musenyi Sector in Rutsiro District, said in the 2017/18 fiscal year, children participated in planning and budgeting in their district and their input was considered.
“Before going to the district level for child rights advocacy, we sit together as children, discuss and collect views of different children on issues that we are facing in our communities. This is done through our different grassroots groups supported by children’s Voice Today,” said Byiringiro.
Etienne Havugimana, the director of planning in Rutsiro District, said they allocated Rwf800 million to implement some projects suggested by children.
Normally, the process of planning and budgeting are based on the local needs, suggested by local people plus specific groups like youth, women, people with disabilities as well as children, Havugimana added.
“Children’s views most of the times complement what adults say but children are more precise than adults,” he said.
In the fiscal year of 2017/18, a health post and three playing grounds have been built in Rutsiro district following children advocacy, he said.
Ernest Dusabe, the in-charge of planning and monitoring in the National Children Council, said giving voice to children is one of their rights, so local authorities should include their ideas in national planning.
“This project will give to the children their right to share ideas and contribute to national development,” said Dusabe.
He added that the stakeholders are looking at how to expand it to every district of Rwanda, and NCC will coordinate and evaluate its activities.