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  • C-Sema Team

KUWAZA IV partners meet Minister Riziki Pembe Juma to explore initiatives to end child sexual abuse in Zanzibar.

Updated: Jul 1

Day one, June 11 Zanzibar.

The visitors from the Geneva-based Oak Foundation were hosted by KUWAZA IV consortium members, including C-Sema's project team led by Chief Executive Mr. Kiiya JK, Pathfinder International project team led by Country Director Dr. Joseph Komwihangiro, and Action Aid's project team led by Country Director Mr. Bavon Christopher.

Exploring UNICEF's groundwork and collaborative efforts

The day commenced promptly at 10:00 AM with Ms. Helena Duch, Head of Evidence and Solutions for the Prevent Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) Programme and Ms. Lucia Quintero, Programme Officer for Prevent Child Sexual Abuse, both from Oak Foundation; and KUWAZA IV partners visiting the UNICEF Zanzibar office. The agenda was to delve into the foundational work laid down by UNICEF and KUWAZA IV partners in the project's previous phases. Discussions were led by Mr. Ahmed Rashid, UNICEF Zanzibar's Child Protection Specialist, who highlighted years of collaborative efforts with the government aimed at strengthening child protection systems across Zanzibar.

During the session, the UNICEF representative spoke of their multifaceted approach and focus areas that include bolstering community structures, enhancing the child protection system, and implementing comprehensive ending child abuse communication toolkits in schools. Notable achievements encompassed the establishment of child protection units across all local governments offices, Police Gender & Children Desks, alongside the rollout of One-Stop Centres and specialised children courts.

Meeting with Honourable Minister Riziki Pembe Juma and her technical team

At noon, the focus shifted to a high-level meeting with Honourable Minister Riziki Pembe Juma, accompanied by her esteemed technical team for Violence Against Children (VAC) and Gender-Based Violence (GBV). This session underscored the Ministry's unwavering commitment to strengthening child protection measures and addressing the urgent issue of sexual exploitation.

Minister Riziki Pembe Juma (at the helm) with her technical team in a discussion with KUWAZA IV consortium members, and a delegation from Oak Foundation.

The meeting began with a comprehensive overview of Primero, a groundbreaking initiative launched on 20th July 2022. Primero aims to streamline case management and enhance coordination among key stakeholders. Currently operational in key offices including UNICEF, the Ministry itself, and one Local Government Authority (LGA), Primero boasts 56 active users and has already managed 375 cases. This demonstrates its efficacy in tracking and managing incidents of child abuse and exploitation across the region.

Minister Juma outlined critical national budget gaps on key priorities, which include budget to acquire essential working tools, improving VAC / GBV team work infrastructure, and conducting a policy review with a specific focus on amending the Law of the Child to include new and emerging trends.

Strategies in handling sexual exploitation

Discussions then turned to the multifaceted challenges in combating sexual exploitation. Ongoing studies on the drivers of sexual abuse were highlighted as essential for informing targeted interventions. However, the Ministry faces constraints in Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) services, stressing on the urgent need for expanded resources in this critical area.

Preventive strategies featured prominently in the Ministry's approach, including plans to establish Children Councils across all 388 Shehias in Zanzibar. These councils will serve as local platforms to disseminate awareness on sexual violence prevention, empowering communities to effectively safeguard children.

Minister Juma expressed concerns over existing gaps in coordination across ministries, agencies, and departments, putting emphasis on the need for a unified approach to child protection. Initiatives aimed at enhancing child online safety through parental awareness campaigns, including simulated parental letters, were also discussed.

Briefings on KUWAZA IV pre-activities

The day concluded at 4:00 PM with comprehensive briefings on the planned pre-activities of KUWAZA IV, recently approved for implementation by KUWAZA IV's funding partner, Oak Foundation. Stakeholders emphasised the strategic rollout of interventions and highlighted inclusive participation and sustained collaboration as key priorities for the upcoming phase.

Day 2, Unguja North Region - Zanzibar

KUWAZA IV project leaders and Oak Foundation delegates engaging with community members of Kitope Shehia.

In the heart of Kitope Shehia, day two of the field visit started with poignant reflections and hopeful aspirations shared by community members and project leaders alike. Led by Lucia Quintero of the Prevent Child Sexual Abuse Programme, a pivotal question kicked of the conversation: "How can we increase fathers' engagement in parenting?" The responses reverberated with newfound insights and commitments to change: from realizing that disciplinary actions could sometimes veer into violence, to embracing open dialogues on preventing sexual abuse. The community's shift towards supportive responses to survivors of violence and their determination to equip children with safety skills beyond home brought on a collective awakening.

Helena's question about the dreams and hopes that the community has for their children brought a new energy to the discussion. As the community shared their aspirations, a vision of a future emerged—one where incidents of abuse are drastically reduced, children are confident and self-reliant, and future generations grow up in a safe and informed environment. With a collective commitment to achieving up to a 90% reduction in Sexual Violence Against Children (SVAC) incidents, the day's discussions highlighted not only progress but also a unified determination to create safer, more nurturing environments for all.

As KUWAZA gears up for its next phase, we are as committed as ever to forging a resilient child protection framework in Zanzibar. This visit signified the profound impact of collaborative partnerships and laid a solid foundation for continued progress in safeguarding children's rights across the region.

Prepared by Childline Zanzibar team and compiled by C-Sema communication team.



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