UNICEF helps children heal

unicefHARARE The United Nations Children Fund has embarked on a peace-building project to assist children and young adults affected by last years political violence as perpetrators or victims.

The agency is working with churches to assist about 10 000 young children and adolescents through psychosocial support activities, including structured recreational activities, opportunities to express their feeling through arts, group counselling and peer-to-peer counselling. The project was also helping sexually abused young girls and teenage mothers with professional counselling services, medical support, life skills and training in hygiene and nutrition.

Adolescent boys and youths who took part in violence would be provided with psychosocial support and assistance toward reintegration. Zanu (PF) youths some as young as 12 allegedly terrorised known supporters of the MDC in the run-up to the disputed June 2008 presidential election run-off. Some of the young boys are said to have even participated in the murder of MDC supporters or arson attacks on properties owned by perceived opponents of President Robert Mugabe.

UNICEF noted that childrens rights should be prioritized during the process of peace building and reconciliation, through the provision of special assistance and protection for those affected. The current move to restore the education system that has collapsed due to the current economic crisis needs a complementary strategy and interventions for young girls who have dropped out of school and have been forced by the economic crisis and the non-functionality of schools into early marriages or and teenage pregnancies, the agency said.

Children and adolescents were the most affected population group after the politically-motivated violence which claimed more than 200 lives and displaced thousands others from their homes.

Post published in: News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *