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Source: Save The Children
Asia is a 17-year-old from Zanzibar, Tanzania. She’s been working to campaign for children rights and the fight against violence in the Isles. Here’s why she does it.
Asia is a member of the local children’s council, where she discusses issues affecting children and advocates for positive change. She says children face a number of challenges, and because they don’t have awareness about their rights, they can be scared to report when they are abused. Her council aims to educate the public – especially those in rural areas – on the importance of protecting children’s rights.
“We benefit a lot from these councils as whenever we meet, we discuss a lot of things including our rights. These councils are very important in the fight against violence, child marriages and pregnancies,”
“We have visited various schools educating children on their rights, avoided abuse and being able to report issues of violence, we have been educating parents on the importance of protecting children by ensuring that they monitor their children’s walks and behavior all the time,”
Asia says discrimination and violence against women and children has adverse impacts on the community and the country as whole, and calls for intensive efforts to fight it. She urges the government to strengthen policies and laws to punish those who have been abusing children.
But Asia’s work doesn’t just help other children – she’s also seen a huge personal benefit.
“Personally, I can confirm that through the trainings I have learned and benefited in many ways. First, I have gained confidence: as a young girl I wasn’t confident enough to stand in front of people and speak, but now I do that with confidence. I have also travelled to many places both here in Unguja and on the mainland.”
Now, she dreams of becoming a child rights lawyer. She’s started studying relevant subjects in high school, and says that she’s “looking forward to my bright future as well as a bright future for many other girls in my community.”
Asia’s father, Makame, is very supportive of Asia’s campaigning. When he found out that there are children councils in the Isles, he came home and took all of his children to the council for registration.
“I thank my parents for being so supportive to me, especially since my father has been very close to ensure that I fulfill my duties well, I always feel protected having supportive parents like them.”
Save the Children strives to get children’s voices heard and promote child-friendly policies in an environment where children have little to no voice to influence issues that affect their lives. In Tanzania, there’s little space for children to participate in government, law, or policy processes, and those from rural areas, with disabilities, and from low-income families are disproportionately affected.
Save the Children works in Tanzania to protect children’s rights and advocates for public investment in children by ensuring that resources are allocated for sectors such as health and nutrition, education, and protection. In 2018, we reached 844,020 people in Tanzania in our child rights governance interventions.