Yesterday, Rwanda joined the rest of the world to celebrate the International Day of the African Child.
The thousands of African students in Soweto, who bravely stood up and fought for their rights, are remembered and honoured on this day.
Fighting in the face of adversity and standing up for your rights knowing you will face opposition and violence is not only brave, but courageous and honourable.
The African Child day highlights the need to educate children on their right to life, their survival and development.
It also advocates laws and establishing of government structures that ensure child survival, development and protection.
The Government of Rwanda has put in place impressive measures that ensure children enjoy and access their rights and privileges in terms of a good living environment, quality education and effective health services among others.
The One cow per family programme, has helped improve children’s nutrition, the Rehabilitation and Vocational Center at Iwawa, has given life skills to former street children and the Nine-year basic education programme that has ensured that children get free education, are among the policies that have seen the welfare of Rwandan children tremendously improve.
One of Africa’s greatest assets is its youth. They possess the energy, creativity and dynamism to take the continent to the next level, yet without the opportunity to express their ideas or participate meaningfully in the decision making process, we are neither respecting their rights nor able to fully gain from their immense gifts.
While there are various programmes and institutions that are geared towards youth promotion, coordination will be key to the success of these intitiatives.
There is, therefore, need for concerted and coordinated efforts in activities designed to promote the wellbeing of an African child. A lot has been achieved but there is still more to be done.