Children in Rwanda are talking about increased investments in children
By Christopher Ndikubwimana.
15 November 2017 Rwanda - In Rwanda, children have been talking – about their dreams, issues that concern them and most of all about increased investment in child rights and development with equity.
“My name is Jeremie. I am twelve years old. I find the workshop quite interesting because it focuses on accountability for children’s rights in Rwanda. We have a challenge of ensuring our fellow children attend schools especially children with disability. Many of them don’t go to school today due to lack of scholastic materials. We are asking for increased investment in children especially those with disability. Every child must be supported to attend school”.
“My name is Clare. I am 10 years old. I’m from Ngororero district. Everyone should know about the need to invest in children. Also there should be increased budgets to support vulnerable children, especially the deaf and dumb. They must be facilitated to attend schools”.
“My name is Mukiza Peter. I am from Rutsiro district, Western Province. I am 13 years old. Today we talked about why children don’t go to school and why some parents do not protect their children. The main reason why children don’t go to school is poverty because they lack appropriate means and capacity. Children should participate and be involved in all development activities because they will be the leaders tomorrow. What I would like for our future is that we shouldn’t see any more kids on the street. The second thing is that we should eliminate or eradicate poverty so that everyone feels developed. Education is the best way to eliminate poverty.
A vulnerable child is a child who doesn’t go to school, a child who has no access to health and a child who doesn’t get enough food and a child who is vulnerable to illnesses due to malnutrition. We have many children like that in my community. Some are taken care of by their families but others have no means at all. These children should be helped to go back to school.
Children expressed their worries and needs duringa Mid-term Review Workshop on Accountability for Children’s rights project funded by European Union. The three-year project aims to strengthen the capacity of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and Children’s networks to actively hold the Government of Rwanda accountable for the implementation of children’s rights.
Speaking at the workshop, Philippe Adapoe, Country Director, Save the Children expressed gratitude to the project. “To make child participation meaningful and a reality in planning and budgeting process, we need to ensure that every child is learning, surviving and be protected at all levels, for Rwanda as a nation to have better future with smart generation”.
The Government of Rwanda with support from Save the children has contributed to the creation of a safe environment for children’s active engagement in public planning and budgeting process, to help ensure learning, protection and wellbeing children including those in remote areas. “In my district Rutsiro, consulting children in our planning and budgeting was unheard of. But nowadays children are requesting us to allocate more budget for child related matters. These children are sharp; they know all sectors concerning them. We engage them right from village up to district level to ensure that their needs are captured well”, said Etienne Havugimana, Director of Planning in Rutsiro district.
Mr. Havugimana added that engaging child has enabled his district perform better in performance contracts (Imihigo). “Engaging children in planning and budgeting has increased my district’s performance. We used to be among worst performers, for instance in 2015/2016, Rutsiro was the second last of the thirty districts, and in 2016/2017 we were among the best five, all attribute to engaging children in our planning and budgeting process”.