Child Participation now a reality at Gwangwava school
Learners from Gwangwava Primary School in Rushinga District which lies within Mashonaland Central Province of Zimbabwe have been empowered to be active participants in decision making at their school, through the formation of child participation committees which work closely with the school authorities to ensure that children’s views are taken into consideration on matters affecting them.
This was made possible through the intervention by Save the Children, which provided training and guidance to teachers and learners on the importance of child participation within the school. The training emphasised that child participation is one of the principles for child rights and needs to be fulfilled. In addition, child participation helps in building confidence among children, promotes transparency and contributes to the realisation of the best interests of the child.
Following the training, the school established three child participation committees which are the Junior School Development Committee (SDC), Junior Child Protection Committee (CPC) and the Junior Disaster Risk Reduction Committee (DRR).
Prince Gweru (12) who is a member of the school DRR Committee talked about the role of their committee and what they have achieved so far. “As the Junior DRR Committee, we work closely with the school authorities to ensure that the school environment is safe for children and we also identify possible risks within the school and report them to the school authorities so that they are addressed.
“We recently heard that there is a Cholera Outbreak in Zimbabwe, and we decided to install the tippy tap systems around the school yard so as to provide easy access to water to enable all school children to wash our hands regularly to prevent ourselves from contracting cholera.”
The Junior School Development Committee (SDC) consults children on the developments they would want to see in the school which includes infrastructural development and provision of learning material, then they relay the information to the Senior School Development Committee at a joint meeting which comprises of parents and children’s committees and they map a way forward.
According to Confidence Bhachi who is a member of the committee, the establishment of this committee has brought about positive changes to the school and he applauded the school authorities for giving children an ear.
“I am so happy to be part of the committee because it gives us an opportunity for our voices as children to be heard. So far we have made great progress and the school authorities have been supportive. We managed to start a poultry project with support from the school authorities and we plan to use the money to refurbish our school.”
The Junior Child Protection Committee ensures that the rights of children are being observed as well as raising awareness to their fellow students on their rights and the importance of reporting any cases of abuse.
Ropafadzo Garadziko who is a CPC member says what interests her the most about her role is that she is able to share information about child rights to her age mates.
“As a CPC member I am able to share information about child rights to other children, it is important for every child to know their rights so that they will not be vulnerable to abuse. The CPC is very important in our school because if children have problems be it at home or school some cannot approach teachers or their parents and they prefer coming to us. So whatever they share with us, we relay it to school authorities or anyone responsible so that the get help,” said Ropafadzo.
Gwangwava Primary School is among the146 schools across eight districts of Zimbabwe where Save the Children operates, which fully adopted and understood the importance of child participation within the school.