Press Release: 9th National Children’s Summit kicks off with the theme “Children and Self-Reliance”
Kigali, Rwanda, 19 December 2013 – “We have gained more confidence and knowledge with every summit” says Alex, 17, President of the National Children’s forum during the pre-summit consultations. Since 2004, Rwanda has successfully organized an annual National Children’s Summit to ensure meaningful child participation. The 9th Children’s Summit kicks off today - where 572 child and adolescent representatives from all over the country participate in a one day national consultative event simultaneously in all four provinces and Kigali city. The representation considers the equity agenda too; children living with disabilities and those from refugee camps also get an equal opportunity for participation. The children will be providing their contributions to the national priorities, particularly on issues concerning them.
The theme for this year’s summit is “Children and Self Reliance/Abana n’umuco wo kwigira”. Talking about the theme, Ms. Zaina Nyiramatama, Executive Secretary of National Commission for Children, said, “Self-reliance in children will be explored through the perspective of being responsible and hardworking by carrying out tasks appropriate to their age and adopting the culture of saving. Children need to grow up to be responsible adults, should learn to feel, think, and act with respect for themselves and other people. At an early age, they must pursue their own well-being, while also being considerate of the needs and feelings of others.”
UNICEF Rwanda is encouraged by the summit recommendations being integrated into national and districts planning and implementation. “These fora are appreciated as they result in action. Children speak and Rwanda listens” said Ms. Noala Skinner, UNICEF Representative. “In the last Summit, the Rt. Honourable Prime Minister made a commitment that the summit recommendations would be considered in the planning of public institutions.” she added.
The National Children’s summit is organized by the National Commission for Children in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion as well as provinces and Kigali City. International development partners that include UNICEF, Care International, Plan Rwanda and CHF International have provided support towards the organisation of the Children’s Summit.
“We are committed to keep on soliciting your views and opinions on national policies as well as other child rights protection interventions”, stated Ms Gasinzigwa Oda, Honourable Minister for Gender and Family Promotion to children during the consultations.
Notes to the Editor
The briefing meetings in all provinces and districts authorities nationwide were followed by grass root consultative aimed at consolidating children’s views, opinions and suggestions on the theme and its objectives. These consultative meetings convened all members of the children’s forum committees of the Villages in the Cell, while the consultations at sector level gathered members of the children’s forum committee of the Cell.
Every Children’s Summit has been given a theme chosen by children themselves to direct activities of the event. This year’s theme was selected based on children’s rights, promotion and protection. Consequently, the 9th National Children’s Summit is a golden occasion for children to discuss amongst themselves on practical suggestions for helping them appreciate the importance of acting responsibly in their everyday lives. In the same perspective, children will commit themselves on how to contribute to the development of the country by embracing the culture of hard work through activities appropriate to their age, as a way that enables them to develop the culture of self-reliance starting from the early age.
Based on the issues, children were given an opportunity to express their opinion on the theme and sub-themes to influence decisions and actions in their homes and at national level. And it was done in a process of dialogue; encouraging and exchange needs in which children assume increasing responsibilities and become active – which led to the theme of “Self-Reliance/ Abana n’umuco wo kwigira”
For more information, please contact:
Sid Shrestha, Chief of Communication, Advocacy & Partnerships, UNICEF Rwanda