Zimbabwe to celebrate International Child Helpline Day

By Staff Reporter

In a way to acknowledge the significance of child helplines across the world, the Childline Zimbabwe in conjunction with the Ministry of Labour and Child Welfare will join hands in celebrating the International Helpline Day.

The commemorations which will run under the theme “Using Inclusive technology for Children and young people’s well-being. All day everyday” will be held on the 18th of May 2018 at the Civic Centre in Masvingo.

Through the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, 250children from 30 schools have been invited to join in the inaugural commemorations.

Briefing the media at a press conference on the 15th of May 2018, Clemence Wega, the National Finance Manager of Child Helpline said the main objective of the commemorations is to advance alertness on the presence of the national Child Helpline in Zimbabwe and the uplifting of children’s rights.

“In line with the theme, the commemorations will aim to raise awareness on various positive ways that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can be used for the good of our children and young people.

“As a country, we have embraced ICT’s by creating an educational curriculum that promotes their use and our government has been making efforts to avail resources that allow schools to promote the use of ICT’s,”said Wega.

He said the introduction of the ICT policy by the government of Zimbabwe was a vibrant demonstration that it was dedicated to the use of ICT’s for the development of the community.

The Childline so far has noticed that in 14 000 cases of abuses reported 30% of them are sexual abuses which involves young girls aged 13-15. They also recorded that 90% of the abuses are done by the people they know and trust. These people include the relatives, guardians and sometimes their teachers.

Childline statistics also shows that 90% of the reported sexual abuse 70% are girls and the remaining is the boys. The most form of abuse to the boys is child neglect and physical abuse.

The organisation receives an average of 1500-2000 calls per day from the children and individuals who want counselling. In 2017 26% of the reported cases relates to sexual violence, 21% physical violence, 18% neglect, 7% child marriages, 7% emotional abuse and the remaining 21% relates to child pregnancy, child labour and custody.

As part of its work, the organisation is trying to innovate ways in which children in remote areas could be also able to access the services since they have realised that more convenience seem to be high only in the urban settings. Positive parenting sessions are also being extended to churches by the organisation as a way of protecting children. Childline Zimbabwe is also urging churches to come up with child protection policies which can help to reduce the rates of child abuse.

The Child friendly reporting mechanisms provided by Childline Zimbabwe comprise of free phone 116, which can be accessed through any local phone line, WhatsApp Platform 116 Mobile application and social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter. As the organisation responsible for the national helpline, Childline Zimbabwe is also a member of Child Helplines International which is the mother body that governs child helpless across the world.