Every year, worldwide civil societies join hands for the 16 Days of Activism campaign against gender-based violence. Under the mandate provided by the UN Secretary-General in 2008, UN Women oversees the initiative UNiTE to End Violence Against Women. The UNiTE campaign embraces orange as a unifying color for all of its global initiatives, representing the promise of a future free from violence against women and girls. The campaign runs from November 25—International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women—to December 10—Human Rights Day, demonstrating that the most prominent human rights violation is still violence against women and children. The global theme this year is “UNiTE! Invest to prevent violence against women and girls”. The theme centers on how crucial it is to fund various preventative measures to prevent violence from happening to begin with.
UNA Tanzania leading the youth community of practice under the Linking and Learning coordinated by WilDAF with the support of VOICE organised a session to promote awareness of violence against children to students of Mbagala Primary School. Two hundred pupils, ages eleven to thirteen, participated in the session, which intended to enhance their understanding and empower them to speak up when they encounter, witness, or believe that there has been violence against a fellow student. The concept of violence against children, its forms, its effects, prevention, how to recognize a victim of violence, reporting procedures and risk factors with vivid examples of risk practices in their residing community were all explained to the students .
Target 16.2 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is to “end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against, and torture of, children”. However, studies published by the African Partnership to End Violence against Children (APEVAC ) in 2021 showed we are far behind. The studies revealed that more than half of all children in Africa experience physical abuse, while in some parts of the continent, four in 10 girls suffer from sexual violence before the age of 15. The 2023 UNICEF statistical profile for the violence against boys, girls, and women in the SADC region shows that the lifetime prevalence of forced sex among girls and women is 17% on average. To add up around 120 million children aged 1 to 14 years (over 8 in 10) in the region experience violent discipline at home. The problem is massive. Dealing with it begins with investing in empowering children with comprehensive knowledge to be able to identify acts of violence as well as report them and we are at the forefront of making that happen!