Habtamu Abrdew Beture – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
The Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat hosted various collaborators in a meeting held recently with the view of finding ways to respond to the violence against children which has emerged as an issue in the COVID-19 lockdown period.
Child Protection office seeks solutions together with artists
The Zim Alilim campaign means, “I won’t keep quiet.” It was initiated by some of Ethiopia’s popular artists. following an increase in violence and abuse cases.
The discussion, between artists and Church officials, focused on the increase of violence against children, women, girls, and sexual abuse during the lockdown and sought to find ways of addressing the challenges.
As several reports reveal, the numbers of confirmed cases of domestic violence in Ethiopia are increasing. Instances of domestic violence, sexual assaults and rape have been perpetrated by close family members and abusive partners.
An increase in early marriages
Several regional states, in Ethiopia, have also reported early marriage cases that have occurred since schools closed prematurely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the meeting, the Church and collaborators recognised the need for raising awareness on child protection and the necessity of strategies aimed at building a favourable environment for the protection of children.
The Church and #Zim Alilim artists agreed to work hand in hand and commit to bringing about positive impact and output in resolving the problem.
Awareness creation and attitude change
The focus areas of their interventions will be in providing awareness-raising workshops and programmes which focus on attitude change. The parties agreed to help parents be fully involved in the development of their children. They also highlighted the role of religious leaders in building a society founded on spiritual, moral, social, and intellectual values.
The Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat’s Child Nurturing and Protection office will be responsible for the overall implementation of the programme. Activities include Initiating, organising, conducting capacity support programmes and ongoing training of key personnel in the archdioceses, eparchies, vicariates and prefectures.
Meanwhile, the Zim Alilim artists requested Cardinal Berhaneyesus Souraphiel, the Archdiocese of Addis Ababa, to lend the Church’s support against increased cases of abuse being highlighted by Ethiopian media. In response, Cardinal Berhanayesus assured the artists of his backing.