Child protection desks in the offing in all schools

17Jun 2019
Songa wa Songa
The Guardian
Child protection desks in the offing in all schools

THE government is to set up child safety and protection desks in all primary and secondary schools in a move to enhance the welfare of minors.

Speaking here yesterday during the regional commemoration of the Day of the African Child, the Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Ummy Mwalimu said the new programme will come with training of teachers to man the desks as patrons and matrons.

But the government is yet to allocate resources for this programme, prompting the minister to appeal for help from development partners.

"I appeal for development partners to support the government in realising this important initiative," said Mwalimu.

This adds to special desk and a day and night toll free number for the public to report cases of gender based violence and child abuse introduced by the government last month.

While the helpline, 116, is meant enable victims as well as witnesses of gender based violence and child abuse to report the cases to the government without delay for authorities to take appropriate measures, the new initiative will allow children to communicate incidents of abuse to teachers with whom they spend most of their time.

"Teachers spend most of their time in school and they are better placed to know what effect the pupils, " the minister said.

These initiatives come after a recent human rights report launched in April by the Legal and Human Rights Centre indicated that sexual violence against children almost tripled in the country last year, making it the most violated human right for the period.

Speaking at the event, the deputy country director for Plan International, Dr Benatus Sambili whose organisation co-organised the event said their programme in Geita region covers a wide spectrum of child protection and development ranging from tackling truancy and school dropping out to fighting child abuse.

"We have offered tailoring training to 100 girls from underprivileged families and issued health insurance to 6,216 children,” he said.

Dr Sambili said the organisation's programme has also kept girl children in school by providing thousands of sanitary pads apart from sponsoring 4,000 primary school pupils from underprivileged families in 91 schools by providing them with uniforms and learning materials.

"We also donate learning and teaching materials to 30 primary schools that benefit all pupils in those institutions," he added.