Day of the African child UNICEF & Young PM set the pace
Friday, June 27, 2008
UNICEF Gambia, in collaboration with members of the dynamic Young People in the Media, the Gambia, recently organized a symposium in commemoration of the Day of the African Child. According to report from the organizers, this year's team was: Child Survival and the occasion was held at Nusrat Senior Secondary School, situated in Bundung.
The president of YPM, Mr Abdou Jatta, delved into the significance of the day which he said was observed by many countries around the African continent. Mr Jatta sought to remind participant about the origin of the commemoration, citing that it was in remembrance of the massacred innocent children, in Soweto, by the then racist White minority, Apartheid regime of South Africa, in 1976. He disclosed that 2008 marked the 32nd anniversary of the massacre, and he salute the young people of South Africa, especially those who gave up their lives for freedom.
The young Gambian Child activist strongly condemned child abuse and harmful traditional and cultural practices which issues, he said, The African Union had put high on its agenda. Mr Jatta stressed the need for strong advocacy for the elimination of harmful traditional practices, violence against children and women. Others cited by the young activist included the protection of children and women against diseases, in particular, HIV/AIDS; as well as participation of women in politics, things, he believes, would be crucial in ensuring development and peace--building.
The UNICEF Country resident representative to the Gambia, Ms Min Whee Kang, highlighted the significant of the day, saying that it was first commemorated in 1991 by the African Union. She said that since then attention had been drawn to the situation of African children. She noted that the occasion had become a means of examining progress towards health, education, equality and security for all African children.
Madam Kang went on to say that the day also created the avenue for the system to monitor the implementation of the regional African Charter on The Rights of The Child which, she said, entered into force in November 1999.
"Since the historic establishment of the Day of the African Child," Ms Kang said, "17 years ago, almost 30 million children have perished, due mainly to preventable diseases such as malnutrition, pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria."
"Despite the daunting challenges," she went on, "many countries in Africa are making some measurable progress for children."
The UNICEF boss finally spoke on 'The Call to Action on Child Survival', which aims to promote the "4 Quick Wins for Children in The Gambia". These, she said, are exclusive breastfeeding of babies, use of ORS to stop diarrhea, promotion of hand-washing with soap at critical times, and scaling up of ITNs usage, nationwide, for pregnant women and children under five, to help reach the 80% coverage rate by 2010. She called on community leaders, Imams and priests, health workers, heads of government agencies, media, private sector and children themselves, to help harness resources, advocate and communicate to the public and galvanize national support for the 4 Quick Wins.
Ms Bintou Sonko, Vice President of Young People in the Media, spoke on the role and responsibility of the media in the promotion of child rights.
The UNICEF National goodwill Ambassador, Mr. Jaliba Kuyateh, highlighted the importance of child survival, and he also emphasized on the importance of the four 'Quick wins.'
UNICEF's child protection officer, Mr. Salifu Jarsey, made a presentation on the Convection on the Rights of the Child. Modou C Njang, Assistant Secretary General of YPM, gave the vote of thanks. The Symposium was punctuated with a drama performance on child survival by the drama team of YPM.
Author: by Kemo Cham