By Quegas Mutale in Binga
Men in Binga are taking the lead in raising awareness on issues to do with child safeguarding. In a workshop held on 11 November 2023 at Tusimpe Pastoral Centre, St. Joseph guild committed themselves to take up initiatives that safeguard children and shared the relevant information with parents and guardians.
The guild members invited other men and women from the community to participate in the workshop whose thrust was to help people to respect children rights. Mr. Peter Munsaka, the safeguarding focal person in Binga led a discussion on child protection and safeguarding.
The Chairperson of St. Joseph’s guild in Binga, Mr. Patrick Muzamba, said the workshop helped them to understand and cherish the importance of child safeguarding at all levels including in families.
Mr. Munsaka said the Church should be in the forefront in issues of safeguarding as she is the mirror of society. He explained that safeguarding demands establishing safeguarding committees, policies, and putting preventive and responsive mechanisms that protect the interests of children.
According to Mr. Munsaka, Hwange diocese trained safeguarding focal persons in September 2022 to enhance child protection and safeguarding in the church.
Mr. Munsaka unpacked the forms of child abuse which are physical, emotional, negligence and sexual and encouraged people to report cases of abuse of children while he castigated those who protect perpetrators at the expense of children.
“Everyone has a responsibility to report abuse cases to the focal person and those in the committee so as to protect children. Not reporting is as good as perpetrating the abuse,” said Mr. Munsaka.
He challenged parents to reflect on the welfare of their children and see if they were not being abused and exploited in the environments that they live in and called them to collectively work together to address child exploitation.
Fr. Joshua Del Barrio called on parents to listen to their children and to give them space to express their concerns.
“Sometimes when children get abused sexually at home, they lose self-esteem. Let’s listen to children and find ways to help them. Do not silence them. Let’s find ways of helping children. Give children a chance to talk so that they express themselves. It is us who should defend the children who are in our custody and we need to ensure that they safe,” he said