On 29th June 2021 GNRC Network in Burundi convened an event in Kiyange, Buterere (North of Bujumbura Capital) to celebrate the Day of the African Child, an annual event celebrated every 16th of June since 1991, when the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) first initiated it. The international day honors those who participated in the Soweto Uprising in 1976 on that day. The day also aims to accelerate efforts to empower the African child in many areas including access to quality education, healthcare, sanitation, food, shelter, security among other rights and amenities as stipulated in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
Through the APDEJ Turashoboye Organization, GNRC brought together 75 (60 children, 10 men, and 5 women) participants including children, youth, faith leaders and representatives from APDEJ Turashoboye Organization, and local government. The event was organized specifically to discuss and identify sustainable solutions to a healthy environment for the development of the African child, “Un environnement sain pour l’épanouissement de l’enfant africain.” The event was graced by the local chief of Buterere Community, Mr. Jean Paul Ndayikengurutse. The Children Rights Respect (CDAU) and Congregation des Salesiens (Catholic Congregation) also attended the event.
During the event Mr. Ndayikengurutse emphasized the need to support and protect children and youth in order to elevate the country from poverty. He urged representatives of the government, to do more to promote the well-being of children. Speakers underscored the importance of protecting communities against pollution and promoting an eco-environment. Buterere is an area prone to dust pollution that has led to respiratory diseases among the residents including children.
At the international celebration, children were educated on their rights and also their role in protecting the environment. Learning was inspired through group discussions, story-telling, games, poems and songs prepared by children. To mitigate the problem of waste pollution, members recommended placing several waste collection points so as to control waste and minimize spread of diseases and contamination.