Niger’s champions raise their voice to support child rights

A community of champions joined forces to support child rights in Niger

By Lalaina Fatratra Andriamasinoro
UNICEF Niger, MDM Crew, Safiath
18 November 2019

NIAMEY (Niger), 18 November 2019 - Ahead of World Children’s Day and the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a community of champions raised their voice to support child rights in Niger. The UNICEF’s “Champions for Children” are prominent individuals from arts, music, ICT, sports or other fields who help the organization raise awareness of children’s rights.

"Through our music, we want to bring hope to children and young people. We believe in the potential of children in Niger, and we believe they can make a significant contribution to the development of our country," says Souleymane, lead of the rapper band MDM Crew, one of the best-known hip-hop artists in the country. The MDM group has dedicated a special title, called "Children of Africa, Children of Niger" which will be widely disseminated on World Children’s Day, on November 20th.

"Because a child whose needs are not heard would be a lost adult, it is up to us to voice the challenges they faces, to unfold their future and explore all the possibilities offered by a country like Niger" affirms Adelle Barry, writer and poet, Nigerien laureate at the "Jeux de la Francophonie”, winner of the 2015 OSIWA Prize in Dakar and winner of the Global Dialogues Prizes Atlanta 2015.

She recently facilitated a writing workshop, entitled "Letter to our Future: Children raise their voice" in collaboration with UNICEF and the Franco-Nigerien Cultural Center Jean-Rouch. Children’s testimonies will be presented to the public on November 20th, on the sidelines of the national celebration of World Children’s Day.

In a dedicated video expressly produced on the occasion of the World Children’s Day, Safiath, Artist-Singer, says "the promotion of the rights of the child is not solely the responsibility of the Government and its partners. Each of us could contribute to build a protective environment for children. Through my music, I am doing my best to defend the rights of the most vulnerable, especially girls"

Latifah Salissou Hassane, the national icon on innovation and the latest Miss Geek Africa, delivered a message of hope for the youth. “Where others saw obstacles, I saw a chance to make a difference. And when I think about the future of my country, all I see is possibility, all I see is hope, because we are a generation of young people with the power to change the world”

Having himself lived the path of migrant children, Bombino, the internationally-renowned Nigerien artist and Grammy nominee, says "children on the move are, first and foremost, children. Regardless of who they are and where they come from, we should provide them with protection and care.  I wish to have the chance to share my joy of music with the young people who choose to take the route. That’s why today I support the children who are on the move. We are with you."

Alphadi, one of the Africa’s best-known fashion designers, founder of the International Festival of African fashion (FIMA) and chairman of the Federation of African fashion designers (FAC), lends his talents to promote child rights. "To give the country a chance to grow, we need to educate girls. Preserving the future of the girl means preserving the future of the whole nation, and we need to give the girl the respect she deserves."

Abdoulrazak Issoufou Alfaga, Taekwondo World Champion and UNICEF National Goodwill Ambassador, advocates for girl’s rights. "Girls, do not be afraid to fight for your dreams, girls are better at everything they do."

The celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child provides a platform for all of us to honor our responsibilities and renew our promises to children. It is a moment to reaffirm our commitment to respect and protect the rights and principles set out in the convention, and to identify and take concrete and achievable actions towards its full implementation.

"In Niger, UNICEF is not alone in advocating for the rights of the child. The Convention on the Rights of the Child could rely on a wide range of champions, organizations and individuals, including children themselves. The more they will be, the better will be the chance that the ideal described thirty years ago will become a reality for all future generations" concludes Dr. Félicité Tchibindat, UNICEF Representative in Niger.