This report is terribly late to be posted to the blog, and I do apologize as it’s an excellent entry regarding Linda na Uwezo, the protection of children’s rights not to be sexually or otherwise abused.  I have a couple more reports from the founder of Linda Community, Novatus Marandu, so please do stay tuned, I promise it won’t take me another 6 months to get them up!  🙂

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An important tutor workshop occurred just before the holiday break and I am proud to share the report below.  Conversations such as these do not occur often nor freely in Tanzania, a very conservative country where such topics are considered taboo and swept under the rug.  However, we at Toa have uncovered instances of abuse against children (verbal, physical, sexual) from our very inception and we have long wanted to address them publicly.  I am hoping that with Mr. Novatus now on board, we will be able not only to discuss how we can prevent these circumstances with our Toa tutors, but also with the administrations of the schools in which we work as well as with parents and students themselves.

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“The facilitator of the workshop on Friday, December 4th was Mr. Novatus Marandu from Linda Community organization.  He began session by welcoming all the attendees who introduced themselves to him and named at which schools they teach.  Then Novatus mentioned the main topic which was Linda na Uwezo (How to Protect Children Against Sexual Abuse) and the subtopics he was going to present as well as the method he would use in presenting the topic.

Novatus began by posing the following questions to the group:

  • What is child sexual abuse?
  • In what places does child sexual abuse mostly occur?
  • Does child sexual abuse affect mostly girls or boys?
  • Why is it important to know about child sexual abuse?

The facilitator then began the presentation by explaining that the source of the training was a storybook called Linda na Uwezo which he wrote by himself and the main character of the storybook was a girl called Linda.  He also said the main objective of the workshop is to make sure that tutors are aware on how to protect children against sexual abuse.  He explained the topic based mostly on the questions he had asked the tutors who had to answer by raising hands and Novatus would call on them randomly to answer.  Thus, Novatus explained the meaning of child sexual abuse and the places where such abuse mostly occurs such as at home, school, the streets, and hidden places.

Also, he gave out different types of child sexual abuse such same-sex abuse and rape, exposing a child to sexual environment, and touching a child’s body parts.  After that, he explained in depth about how to identify a child who has faced sexual abuse which includes a child who has trauma, psychological problems, fear, lack of self-confidence, and a change of performance in class.  He touched on online versus offline child sexual abuse, and winded the session up by giving a chance to the staff to ask more questions.  Novatus promised to continue with the presentation on a later date because the time was not enough to accomplish all he had prepared to present and the tutors had more questions.

The objectives of the workshops will be in total:

  • To understand child sexual abuse, myths, and grooming
  • To understand the importance of awareness and knowledge of such abuse
  • To equip staff with Linda na Uwezo workbook
  • To learn useful skills and tools to use to protect children against sexual abuse
  • To learn care for children exposed to sexual abuse

Novatus recommended that the tutors should pay attention to this topic because it will help them in their work.  When they meet children who have faced sexual abuse, they will know how to help them.”