Day 4 was a travel day.
Sexual violence, rape, child prostitution and child marriage are all problems in Madagascar, as the Zonta team learned through their observation of a child protection club in Fort Dauphin and visit to a child protection one-stop center in the capital of Madagascar.
The child protection club is a group of 60+ girls and boys who discuss issues of sexual violence and rape through song and dance and call and response, which they demonstrated for the Zonta team during their visit.
During the youth-led discussion, the participants shared that sexual violence, rape and child prostitution are common, while two girls shared their own experiences with their parents wanting them to marry early. The students felt that their open discussion of these issues and learning about their options was valuable. When queried, the boys felt they had learned techniques to intervene in a situation if they saw a girl in danger. Both boys and girls related that they shared what they had learned with others, including classmates who were not in the club, siblings and friends.
“We were asked if we had these types of problems in our countries and what Zonta was doing about it there,” shared Past Governor Tammy Hagen. “Our interpreter, who knew the culture of the region well, was very taken by how open and engaged the children were in the discussion. He related that the cultural norm was being quiet and not usually engaging with strangers.”
The one-stop center model, which Zonta International is familiar with from its work to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV and gender-based violence in Rwanda, provides children victims of violence with the medical, psychosocial and judicial support they need all in one location.
Watch for more information about the Let Us Learn program in the next issue of The Zontian magazine, which will be published online in May.