Chief Chisunka of the Ushi people in Mansa has called for the involvement of traditional leaders in advocacy programs against child rights abuse.
Chief Chisunka observed that the non-involvement of traditional leaders such as village headmen in programs aimed at protecting children’s rights was hampering advocacy for the protection of children against abuse in his chiefdom.
He said that it was becoming increasingly hard for traditional leaders to preside over issues of child rights violations like early marriages because most children and communities are more informed on their rights.
“It is very hard for traditional leaders to punish children and perpetrators of children’s rights because they say that they know their rights this is so embarrassing for us chiefs to fail to preside over our people so my appeal to these NGOs coming to educate children on their rights is that they should involve traditional leaders also so that we move on the same wavelength”, the chief said.
However, the traditional leader said children’s rights abuse should not be allowed but condemned and perpetrators heavily punished.
Chief Chisunka said this during the Health Communications Partnership’s (HCP) Zambia Creative HEART Contest held at Chisunka basic school over the weekend.
The HEART contest featured six basic schools which performed and debated along health issues such as HIV/AIDS.
And HCP Mansa District Programs Officer Francisca Tembo said the contest was organized to increase youths’ negotiation and critical thinking skills for positive health actions.
Mrs. Tembo said that the program also aimed at increasing dialogue between youths and adults on HIV/AIDS prevention abstinence and delay in their sexual debut.
She said the initiative would ultimately enable and encourage youths to make self motivated choices about their lives to protect themselves from various social and health challenges.
The HEART Contest was characterized by school debates, drama and music performances along health issues such as HIV/AIDS.