By Fru Rita
A risk assessment carried out by the Center for Inclusion Studies (CIS) in collaboration with the Socio Economic Empowerment of Persons Disabilities (SEEPD) programme in December 2016 with three Councils of the NWR and Centre for the Empowerment of Female with Disabilities (CEFED) reveals that these institutions do not have a comprehensive child protection policy.
In the Kumbo, Ndu and Wum Councils where the risk assessment was done, the findings showed that children’s needs and rights are not met and respected. This exposes them to abuse or risk of harm. Also, parents are ignorant of their duties and obligations towards their children especially children with disabilities. More so, children, especially those with disabilities find it difficult going to school and having access to public buildings amongst others.
Given that the focus of the Child Protection component of the SEEPD programme is to ensure that environments are safe for all children, the program got worried with the results obtained from the risk assessment. In order to curb the situation of child abuse in these municipalities, the programme in collaboration with 3 Councils organized a workshop in their different municipalities recently. The workshop aimed at further discussing the findings from the risk assessment and possible measures that could be put in place by the Councils to create safe environment for all children.
In the various workshops, SEEPD’s Child Protection Officer, Mrs.Yengi Nsono Josephine expressed the need to have a harmonized child protection policy in order to curb the situation of child abuse in the country. After presenting the findings in each Council, Mrs. Yengi led discussions on measures to be put in place to curb the situation. In different groups, the Council staff recommended that a Council Child Protection Policy be developed, Council staff be trained on child protection, copies of child protection policy be distributed to all stakeholders and community members and also use appropriate communication channels in the communities to raise awareness on child abuse.
Speaking in the different Councils during the workshops, the Council authorities and their staff appreciated the SEEPD programme for the partnership, which to them, continues to improve on quality of life in their municipalities through the implementation of activities on the Memorandum of Understanding. They promised to put in place appropriate measures to implement the recommendations made during the workshops.