Government and civil society activists have been asked to ensure their efforts regarding child rights reach all primary schools across the country so that children get to learn about their rights.
Pupils say it is very important for them to understand their rights so that such knowledge helps in observation of children’s rights.
Faith Nakawuki and Esther Namusisi, pupils at JesJonny Primary school in Mukono made the call during the launch of HAKI FOR ALL (Rights for all) media club, an initiative by, Uganda Child Rights NGO Network, High Sound for Children (HSC) and Graca Machel Trust (GMT).
Sharing her experience, Faith Nakawuki, the president of the Media club at Jesjonny Primary School said that because of the knowledge she had about children’s rights she convinced her parents to intervene in a case where the neighbor at home was beating her child almost on a daily basis.
Esther Namusisi , the secretary to the Media club rooted for the right to education for all children saying all parents should ensure the children access education to secure the future of the next generation.
The duo attribute their knowledge about children’s rights to the Haki FOR ALL Books which they recommend for all other children.
Haki is a Swahili word which means Rights. Now, based on their mandate to promote child safety and protecting child rights, the UCRNN and HSC have teamed up to launch HAKI FOR ALL Media clubs in different schools.
Under the banner of HAKI FOR ALL which is translated as Rights for All, it is envisaged that all children should motivate their peers to stand up for their rights.
It is hoped the initiative will reverse the common trend of engaging children about their rights after a case of abuse or violation has been highlighted in the community, what one would call a postmortem approach.
Patricia Osman, the Executive Director High Sound for Children says that through these clubs children in schools are empowered with information about their rights to avert any abuses and violations or even report cases of abuses that would go unnoticed.
So this year’s International Women’s Day was special at Jesjonny Primary School in Mukono when Uganda Children’s Rights NGO Network in partnership with High Sound for Children (HSC) launched the second HAKI Club to promote Child Rights.
Osman says the HAKI FOR ALL project interests children about their rights, what to do in case they are abused, where to go, who to talk to and what to say once any of their rights is abused or violated.
“Once we empower them with knowledge at an early age, the children will be able to stand for themselves at any given time in case there is a violation or abuse, it is very important that children get to know their rights at the early stages of life,”says Osman.
Damon Wamara, the Executive Director Uganda Children’s NGO Network (UCRNN) with support from Graca Machel Trust and HSC, the children organized under the school media clubs initiated by High Sound for Children, Pupils are introduced to HAKI Books to support them understand their rights but also know the steps to be taken in case of abuse or violations.
Wamara says that the child friendly and easy to read Haki-books are used as a training tool to ensure that pupils appreciate their rights as children but also encourage them to participate in observation and enjoyment of these rights.
“We have launched at Buweera Primary School in Jinja. We have launched at Jesjonny Primary School in Mukono and next weekend we will be launching another club in Iganga and we hope to spread out across the country because we have realized there is need and we want to empower every child in that way,” Wamara adds.
Impressively during and after these engagements, the pupils exhibited a high level of knowledge regarding the different children’s rights, who are responsible for ensuring children enjoy their rights.
Meanwhile, Bildad Kiisa, the school manager at JesJonny Primary school testifies that the program is very instrumental in delivering their teaching goals as per the school curriculum.
He says that whereas teachers are mandated to teach Human Rights as per the curriculum they teach basics of human rights but the program helps cover the core of human rights.
Kiisa is optimistic that the program will impact the academic performance of the pupils.
“This initiative focuses on the core of children’s rights and now if any question on children’s rights or even human Rights in general surfaces, these children will pass highly,” noted Kiisa.
He adds that besides gaining confidence because the program values child participation, pupils who are members of the clubs have turned out to be trainers of their peers when it comes to children’s Rights.