"Why are children on the street not given [the opportunity to express their views on their needs] and also be placed in loving families for support?" questioned Clementine, 13, during the launch of the UN General Comment on public budgeting.
Her question was prompted by an event organised by Save the Children and National Commission for Children Rwanda (NCC), dedicated to Universal Children’s Day that coincided with the launch of the UN General Comment on public budgeting for the realization of Children’s right.
Children representatives, including boys and girls came from three different districts of Kigali City. Clementine and her friends were not only able to ask questions to government officials and Save the Children staff but also provide interesting analysis and insights from their perspective.
In order to make event child friendly, SCI Rwanda and NCC allowed children to express their views on empowering children to effectively participate in public budgeting. The purpose of the event was to engage government officials and other decision makers in discussions concerning different topics relevant to children participation in public budgeting decision making. First, children were shown presentations in graphs. Then they were given some time to think about it. In all cases, not only did the children immediately grasp the importance of their participation, they translated presented content into their understanding, and shared their opinions on both negative and positive trends in child participation in Rwanda.
It was inspiring to see both girls and boys being actively engaged, and sharing their thoughts. “I am glad that now children both girls and boys equally have a say in families, communities up to national level. We request leaders gathered here to help children on street with loving families as well”, said Vedaste, a teenage boy, having read presentation on the link between the importance of children’s participation in Rwanda’s development.
The question on not placing children on street in loving families to support them asked by Clementine excited the NCC representative who commended the participant’s care to other children in need and courage to ask such a sensitive question.
“I am so happy our children are holding the government accountable for the issues relating to their present and future”, said Dr. Claudine Uwera Kanyamanza, Executive Secretary of National Commission for Children (NCC).
Philippe Adapoe, Save the Children Country Director, provided words of encouragement to the children during his remarks and called on all actors in child protection to empower children participate in budgeting decision making, “this opportunity is an inspirational entry point to advocate, promote and celebrate children's rights, translating into dialogues and actions that will build a better world for children”.
Save the Children is committed to support these interesting initiatives to promote child participation and learning for the overall objective - to offer children the best start in life.