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Mozambique celebrates the Quinzena da Criança: a fortnight dedicated to children and children’s issues

Marcelino dos Santos
© UNICEF Mozambique / A. Drivdal
Marcelino dos Santos, a well-known Mozambican statesman and intellectual, greeting children at the celebration of the International Day of the Child.

MAPUTO, Mozambique, 3 June 2011 – Every year Mozambique celebrates the Quinzena da Criança, a fortnight of activities dedicated to children and children’s issues beginning with the International Day of the Child on June 1 and ending with the Day of the African Child on June 16. The topic or theme of this year’s Quinzena is: ‘Zero tolerance against sexual abuse of children.’ The Quinzena is the starting point for a sustained, long-term Government-led campaign against sexual abuse and violence in Mozambique that aims to change social norms and individual behaviors that either lead to abuse or allow bystanders to tolerate it.

The Government of Mozambique, through the Ministry of Women and Social Action, and the City of Maputo, marked the opening of the Quinzena by celebrating the International Day of the Child on June 1. In the morning, a large number of participants, including a thousand children, gathered at the Monument to Mozambican Heroes to pay their respects to the country’s heroes and freedom fighters. Following a brief program, which included a visit to the monument by everyone in attendance and a press conference, the participants continued the celebration at the nearby Mavalane Day Center for Mothers, which includes a vocational training center for mothers. The center focuses on the personal development and social inclusion of children and youth who come from challenging backgrounds.

banner demanding a stop to violence against children
© UNICEF Mozambique / A. Drivdal
A group of children holding up a banner demanding a stop to violence against children.

A rich cultural program with entertainment, songs and dances was organized at the Center to celebrate the spirit of joy and festivity surrounding the International Day of the Child. The Vice-Minister of Women and Social Action, the Governor of the City of Maputo and the Mayor of the City Council, were among the high-level Government representatives addressing the children and encouraging them to do great things in the future. The events were concluded with a buffet of food for the many hundred children present.

The topic of this year’s Quinzena, which is to end the abuse and violence towards children, is receiving focused attention from the Government, which is implementing a series of initiatives to overcome the problem. These initiatives includes a large-scale behavioral change communications campaign and efforts to put victim support structures in place. These support structures are known as ‘gabinetes de atendimento’ or victim support units and are being constructed around the country. Furthermore, the Minister of Women and Social Action Ms. Iolanda Cintura recently organized a meeting to focus all attention and available resources to overcome the problem.

For more information, please contact:

Arild Drivdal, UNICEF Mozambique, tel. (+258) 21 481 100; email: maputo@unicef.org

Gabriel Pereira, UNICEF Mozambique, tel. (+258) 21 481 100; email: maputo@unicef.org

 

 

 
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