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Workshops support African churches in fighting sexual abuse and exploitation of children

Workshops support African churches in fighting sexual abuse and exploitation of children

Participants of the Out of the Shadows workshop in Nigeria discussing advocacy initiatives on fighting sexual abuse and exploitation to children. Photo: Valter Muniz/WCC

10 October 2019

Two workshops in Nigeria and Tanzania organized by local church councils in collaboration with the World Council of Churches (WCC), All Africa Conference of Churches, and UNICEF consolidated the partnership on ending sexual violence against children.

Strong ownership of Nigerian Churches on disseminating strategies and sharing resources to stop sexual abuse and exploitation to children in the country marked the west African event.

“We have invited some senior church leaders to introduce the work related to the Out of the Shadows index. We want to find a common response in terms of the church’s commitments to children,” explained Rev. Dr. Yusuf Ibrahim Wushishi, general secretary of the Christian Council of Nigeria. “The leadership of churches in Nigeria is committed to protecting children. We have jointly developed a code of conduct that guides our work on ending violence against children.”

Wushishi also highlighted that the Out of the Shadows workshop in Nigeria followed a collaboration with WCC and UNICEF that was initiated in 2015.

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Tanzanian Deputy Minister for Health, Community Development, Women, Gender, Eldery and Children, Mr Faustine Ndugulile, received the material about the Churches commitment to children during the Out of the shadows workshop.
In Tanzania, the local government closely followed the workshop. During his opening remarks, Faustine Ndugulile, deputy minister for Health, Community Development, Women, Gender, Elderly, and Children stressed both the importance of seeing violence against children as a cross-cutting issue related to poverty, gender and education and the role of churches in ending violence against children. “What you’re discussing today is very import for Tanzania. I call you to work together with us to fight physical, sexual, and also the psychological violence against children,” said Ndugulile.

During the two events, local church representatives were invited to adapt to their contexts posters and leaflets produced by WCC containing helpline information. Another critical task was to identify advocacy champions, ensuring a safe environment for children, within and outside the churches. “The Out of the Shadows workshop comes from research undertaken by the Economist Intelligence Unit, specifically looking at how to end sexual violence against children. It intends to take things that are happening in the dark, out of the shadows, into the open”, explained Mashimba Kuchera, Churches on International Affairs (CCIA) Commissioner representing the WCC in the Tanzanian workshop.

The next Out of the Shadows workshop will take place in Thailand. The event will gather several church leaders and representatives to jointly work on strategies to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation in the Asian context.

 

Video: Out of the Shadows workshop in Abuja, Nigeria

 

Photo gallery of the Out of the shadows workshops

Out of the shadows index website