Good Hope foundation has continued to use the approach of neighborhood assembly in mobilizing community members to participate in addressing issues regarding violence against children and adolescents. Neighborhood assembly is a local parliament/social forum through which community members come together to identify their community challenges, discuss and come up with community based solutions to the challenges in consultation with their leaders. This is spearheaded and organized by the community based organization which Good Hope Foundation is working with as ambassadors in the prevention of violence against children and adolescents through increasing knowledge and skills on children’s issues and parenting among the households, schools and community members. The CBO members with the project staff were facilitated to organize sub county visits to gather information on the magnitude of violence against children and adolescents, issues that perpetuate violence against children and adolescents in families, communities and school level in their respective sub counties. Among the key issues found out from the CDO, police and in the office of vice chair person LC 3 included; increased reduction in school enrollment among the schools in Kivengenyi, the law education levels, alcoholism among the children and adults, the high cases of defilement, child marriages and domestic violence.
On 30th September and 1st October 2017, at Kisinga trading center-Kisinga sub county and Kivengenyi trading center-Karusandara sub county, two (2) neighborhood assemblies were organized by the CBO members which we are working with and over 356 (162m and 143f) people attended. Among those who attended included; the CBO members, police (CFPU), CDOs, vice chairperson LC3, community child rights activists, parish councilors, religious leaders, as well as other local leaders. The neighborhood assemblies were on the theme “Ending violence against children and adolescents”. The neighborhood assemblies where mainly organized for purposes of creating a platform for community members to discuss community issues affecting the growth and development of children in their respective communities and both leaders and community members come up with local solutions.
|CBO members passing message on happy families happy children through music dance and drama|
|Community members discussing key children's issues|
- The issue on children’s education was highlighted by both members of Kisinga and Karusandara for example members of kivengenyi village raised a concern on the state of their only existing schools in the village which they said will collapse soon. The village has one secondary school and it’s the only secondary school in the sub county and that is Karusandara Seed secondary school and one primary school in the village which is Karusandara SDA primary school. Accordingly members said the schools have continuously registered a drastic decrease in students/pupil enrollment every term due to various factors.
|Community members not happy with the children's education in the respective sub counties|
- Among the contributing factors for the low education levels that community members highlighted included; the mind set of community members towards education, parents where highly attributed to the law education levels in the community as they have failed to fulfill their responsibilities towards the education of their children. They cited the parent’s failure to provide scholastic items and funds necessary for their children’s education at school, parents not following up their children at school, failure of them to provide food for the children, parent’s habit of going with the children to the market during the market days, community members using children for paying work which exposes children to money hence making children not to mind on education, sending children at night which increases their risk to be defiled and violated
- Teachers and the school management were also blamed for the fall of the schools especially teacher’s absenteeism and the weak management that fails to coordinate and involve the parents in the school programmes.
- The low monitoring and supervision of schools by the inspector of schools, center coordinating tutor, councilors and the sub county leadership was also mentioned to be among the key factors for the collapse of the schools and low education levels in these respective communities.
|community process facilitator stressing his point on monitoring and supervision of schools|
As part of actions from the neighborhood assemblies, members suggested the following;
- The community members resolved to participate in monitoring their schools especially the attendance of teachers at that any teacher who shall be found coming late or absconding from work shall be arrested by the community members.
- The parish councilor Karusandara parish was committed to address the issue of insufficient supervision and monitoring of schools by the sub county leadership and the area inspector of schools in the sub county.
- Community members to work with the police to search and arrest anyone who shall be found using children for paying work.
- The police also was called upon to strengthen its community policing programmes on issues regarding children protection.
- Parents were also called upon to love their children and prepare them to become good citizens in future especially through ensuring that they keep in school and complete school. This is possible through providing all the basic needs to the children and avoiding situations that increases children’s violation.
- Community members were also called upon to report cases of violence against children to the relevant stakeholders. They were also advised to always participate in parents meetings whenever they are called upon by the school management.