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Third national Rwandan Children Summit emphasizes children as our future

UNICEF Image: Prime Minister of Rwanda Bernard Makuza
© UNICEF Rwanda/2007/ Ngobok
Prime Minister of Rwanda Bernard Makuza speaks with children during the Third Rwandan Children Summit in Kigali.

By Cyriaque Ngobok

KIGALI, Rwanda, 31 July 2007 – Kigali City hosted the Third Rwandan Children Summit yesterday. Prime Minister Bernard Makuza officially opened the forum, which focused on the theme of investing in children.

The objective of the summit was to present a forum for children’s views regarding Rwanda’s new Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS), which will be finalized later this year.

“There cannot be any future without children” said Prime Minister Makuza. “We adults in all levels of leadership need to ensure that children get quality education and access to health care to develop their full potential.”

The speakers highlighted the importance of fulfilling the right of all children to achieve sustainable peace, unity and development. They emphasized a child’s right to participation and reminded those present that children are the future.

© UNICEF Rwanda/2007/ Ngobok
During the summit, young Rwandans had the opportunity to share ideas on the future of their country.

Partnering with children

Munganyinka Cynthia, 14, from Kicukiro District chaired the opening ceremony in which 380 children gathered to represent their peers and pose questions to politicians and community leaders. In the run-up to the summit, several sessions had been held throughout the country, during which children asked questions regarding the EDPRS.

Summit participants included the Mayor of Kigali City, Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, UNICEF Rwanda Deputy Representative Valerie Taton and the Minister Valérie Nyirahabineza from the Prime Minister’s Office of Gender and Family Promotion. These leaders took the floor in order to congratulate the children in attendance.

The annual forum was organized as a collaboration between the youths and the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion, with support from UNICEF.

Ms. Taton of UNICEF lauded the efforts of the Rwandan Government to help children realize their rights as citizens. “The writing of a child-friendly Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy is a testimony of the government’s will to invest in children not as beneficiaries but as partners,” she said.



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