Social affairs ministers from Sierra Leone, Lesotho and Uganda are among those who have shared experiences at a forum here on strategies and legal frameworks being employed in efforts to halt violent acts committed against children.

Sharing their experiences with the participants of the African Child Policy Forum which opened in Addis Ababa Monday, Sierra Leone's Minister of Social of Affairs, Dr. Olayinka Sylvia Blyden, stated that her country was working hard to protect the wellbeing of children.

According to the minister, Sierra Leone had prioritized the elimination of female genital mutilation (FGM) and protection of the psycho-social welfare of pregnant schoolgirls.

Since Sierra Leone had identified teenage pregnancy as a threat to the productivity of women, it had established a multi-agency secretariat to combat it, Dr. Blyden said.

She added that Sierra Leone had also opened an alternative school for pregnant girls and offered counseling services which had proved helpful in increasing female school re-enrollment and reducing dropouts.

Lesotho's Minister of Social Development, Molahlehi Letlotlo, stated that poverty, deep-rooted community beliefs and weak law enforcement mechanisms were the underlying causes of violence against children.

The minister indicated that his country had formulated various legal and policy frameworks which enable it to register success in stopping domestic violence against children and women.

Uganda's Minister of State for Children and Youth Affairs, Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi, said her country was working to expand children's access to primary education and to increase their benefits.

A task force has also been set to stop child trafficking and to bring the criminals to justice. She added that a ban was placed on promoting violence against children and the country was giving priority to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which can help end violence against children at a national level.


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