Celebration day in Congo: children meet the authorities to talk about their rights!

Monday 19 July 2021

In this month of celebrations, the REIPER, our partner in Congo, organized an event on the occasion of the World Day of the African Child in the town of Nkayi, in the Bouenza region! This day of celebration is part of the "Tobaleta bana" project, co-financed by the European Union, and aims to promote the rights and protection of vulnerable children in the Republic of Congo. Thus, our partner brought together the local authorities of Nkayi and the children of the Cardinal Emile Biayenda school complex and the AMACO (a member association of REIPER) in order to discuss child protection.

Engaging the local authorities: children speak out!

In the morning, a roundtable discussion was held with local authorities in charge of child protection: the mayor of Nkayi, the departmental director of social affairs, the children's judge, the representative of the indigenous peoples of the region, as well as representatives of the police and gendarmerie.

They discussed the existing challenges to guarantee the respect of children's rights in Congo, in particular outside the big urban centers where the structures for the care of vulnerable children are rare or even non-existent. The authorities encouraged the implementation of awareness-raising activities among the population, in particular to inform them on the procedure to obtain a birth certificate for their children and of the fact that this document is free.

At the end of the participants' intervention, the children questioned the authorities on the causes of the phenomenon of street children and asked why they did not have access to education: important issues to which the mayor of the city assured to respond with the public authorities. The children questioned the authorities about the violence that some parents inflict on their children and the difficulty for many to obtain a birth certificate. In practice, obtaining birth certificates remains difficult, yet fundamental to ensure access to education for children.

The afternoon was marked by an awareness show on children's rights. The children of AMACO presented a dance prepared with the support of the educators, while the students of the Emile Biayenda school complex presented a theatrical skit to the public. Local musicians came to complete the performances to conclude the day in a festive atmosphere!

This event, organized outside the capital, echoes REIPER's festival of children's rights, which takes place every year in Brazzaville to raise awareness and challenge local authorities to respect children's rights.

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