The Government of Rwanda has, for many years, been implementing different initiatives to promote child rights and protection and the achievements have been quite remarkable. In fact, since 2016, more than 8,300 children have been rescued from child labour and brought back to school and a remarkable 98.9% of reported child defilement cases were handled by courts between June 2017 and July 2018. However, despite all the efforts and achievements, a number of Rwandan children still face violence regularly:
- 30.7% of children between the ages of 14 and 17 years old are working, almost half of them working with pay in an employment activity (According to labour-force survey-pilot, NISR, 2016).
- 29% of the total number of children in Rwanda aged between 5 and 14 years old had been victims of child labour at the time of UNICEF’s release of their State of the World’s Children 2016 Report: A fair chance for every child.
- Findings in the Ministry of Health’s 2017 Violence against Children and Youth Survey established that among females with experiences of unwanted sex in childhood, 48% of girls between the ages of 18 and 24 and 51% of girls between the ages of 19 and 24 reported that the unwanted sex resulted in pregnancy.
- 83% of girls between the ages of 18 and 24 who had experienced sexual violence before the age of 18 abandoned school as a consequence (according to the Ministry of Health’s 2017 survey on the Violence against Children and Youth).
Altogether, more than 250,000 children continue to be victims of child labour and sexual abuse in Rwanda.
For this reason, World Vision Rwanda has worked jointly with the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion (MIGEPROF) and the National Commission of Children (NCC) to develop a new advocacy campaign calling all Rwandans to join hands in the fight to eliminate these practices which represent the two worst forms of violence against children in Rwanda – child labour and sexual abuse. The campaign’s official name is ‘It Takes every Rwandan To End Child Exploitation’, and its overall goal to contribute to the increased protection of children from child labour and sexual abuse by 2022. It aligns with and contributes to Sustainable Development Goal 16.2 to “end the abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence and torture against children.”
At World Vision, we see child labour is a crime that interferes with children’s ability to lead a normal life because it involves work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to them. Even worse than child labour is child sexual abuse; which leaves young girls and boys scarred physically, emotionally, and psychologically.
The It Takes Every Rwandan to End Child Exploitation campaign will be a five-year campaign aimed at bringing different actors together to relentlessly advocate for an end to child labour and sexual abuse; to highlight this violence when it occurs and hold those responsible to account and to work with victims to make their stories and voices heard.
For more information on this campaign and planned activities, please contact:
George Moses Kwehangana
Advocacy & Gender Mainstreaming Manager,
World Vision Rwanda
Tel: (+250) 725880279