60 children from Gatsibo Friday qualified as media and child rights activists after successfully implementing the techniques they had learnt during a 3-week training.
The training that was sponsored by Plan Rwanda, focused on training children about their rights and how to use the media to report any violation of their rights.
The participants who ranged from 12 to 17 years of age were trained in Radio Reporting, Video Production and Writing for Print.
According to Delia Hill, Resource Mobilization Liaison Manager of Plan UK, the training, done under a Plan Project known as Youth Empowerment Through Arts and Media, aims at directly involving children in the media to participate in ensuring their rights.
“Apart from building schools, raising awareness of child rights among children and stake holders, this is the only practical way to end violation of children’s rights,” Hill said.
She added that Plan intended to have long-term involvement in helping Rwandan children to ensure they know their rights which she said would get children involved in Rwanda’s strategic plan.
Kiziguro sector reported to have benefited from the trained children already.
“This training acted as a brain opener to children. They are no longer terrified of speaking about the violence done to them and seeking solutions,” said Dorothee Kasine, in charge of Social Affairs in Kiziguro Sector.
Kasine said that the kids selected a child representative on the Sector Committee. The representative airs out kids’ challenges to local leaders and then returns with feedback.
The official also said that the training also changed parents’ attitudes towards the girl child.
“In the past, many girls would do domestic work as the boys attended school. Today, many girls have resumed school because we reported to the authorities as advocates,” says Alice Mukankotanyi, a 14 year old trainee.
Plan also donated uniforms to four Drama Clubs in a bid to promote child rights awareness. “Since drama reaches a wide area, it’s a sharp tool if used to promote child rights,” said Edison Mugabo on behalf of the Youth Empowerment Project.
On the same day, there was an open discussion tackling children’s problems.