Community Development Education

MAYO  Commemorates Day of the African Child 2022

Abel Mavura

Marvel Act Youth Organisation (MAYO) today joins Africa in commemorating the Day of the  African Child (DAC). The Day is being commemorated under the theme “Eliminate  Harmful Practices Affecting  Children: Progress on Policy and Practices since 2013” under Articles 31 and 32 of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of a Child (ACRWC).

This day is commemorated every year in remembrance of the Soweto  Uprisings of 1976 where children were massacred in Soweto over protesting for their educational rights. The act by the Apartheid regime was not necessary and contrary to civil norms and hence the theme Eliminating Harmful Practices Affecting Children: Progress on Policy and Practice since 2013. Laws, policies, bills, and amendments to these have been made and the African Child continues to suffer.

MAYO urged stakeholders to take stock of what has been done with regard to the adoption of policies and practices and what more needs to be done to effectively eliminate harmful practices affecting children in Zimbabwe, especially in the marginalised areas, of Africa, and the global world.

It feels progress has been made in adopting policies and practices toward the elimination of harmful social and cultural practices that affect children. Zimbabwe is not excluded, but as MAYO we urge the government of Zimbabwe to discourage any custom, traditions cultural, or religious practices inconsistent with the rights enshrined in Article 1 (3) of the ACRWC.

MAYO Field Officer, Patience Faranisi said, “As we mark this day, l will acknowledge the recent Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court ruling that increased the legal age of sexual permission from 16 to 18 years old. However more is needed to be done in accelerating legal and policy reform in the fields of child justice, child protection, marriage, and cybercrime. I believe this effort will ensure that violence, abuse, and discrimination against girls are quickly recognised.

“Throughout the world, countless numbers of girls and boys fall victim to harmful practices, including, child early and forced marriages, teen pregnancies, child abduction, child labour, child abuse, drug and substance abuse, breast ironing, forced feeding, polygamy, virginity testing, the list is endless and this happens across cultures, religions, and countries. Ladies and gentlemen how long shall we suffer?. If we coordinate among ourselves across sectors and at different levels, and if we work together, we can eliminate all the harmful practices.”

She bemoaned that some people defend harmful practices by saying that they are based on culture, religion, and tradition. However, MAYO believes the right to culture and freedom of religion can not limit the fundamental right to equality and non-discrimination.

Adding to the issue, Abel Mavura who is the founder and Director of MAYO said, “We are working toward a world where women and girls are protected from harmful practices by the law and are surrounded by social attitudes and behaviours that enforce women’s equality. We push for societies and the nation at large  to be accountable in line with their obligations, and ensure they enact and effectively implement laws that prohibit harmful practices.”

To end harmful practices works across the world should be done such as increasing global knowledge of the problem and political commitment to end child marriage, developing and supporting the implementation of appropriate laws and policies, supporting the community-level transformation of social norms and practices, empowering women and girls to express and exercise their rights, increasing access to quality prevention, protection, and care services, increase Government ownership over relevant programmes and efforts and give access of education to every child.

“As MAYO we can not afford to sit back and wait for equality to arrive. We are acting now for a change through social media campaign awareness and theatre just to mention a few. We believe that only by working together will we achieve the legal and systemic change needed to address violations of human rights and fundamental freedom in order to eliminate harmful cultural practices that affect children and young people from realising their dreams,” Mavura said.

 

ABOUT MAYO

MAYO Zimbabwe is a Youth and women-focused non-governmental organisation that seeks to contribute to the development and empowerment of young people in marginalized communities, and the eradication of poverty, injustices, conflicts, and violence through advocacy for equality, child, youth, and women’s rights.

The organization is devoted to bringing social change and developing marginalized communities through various developmental initiatives, and theatre is the medium we use to engage communities and communicate various social ills.

It subscribes to the principles of the right to information, knowledge, and skills on the prevention of violence and conflicts. To add, Child Rights and Education is one of the fundamental programs of the Organisation

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende