Article 18 of the Convention of the Rights of the Child states that “both parents share responsibility of bringing up their child and should always consider what is best for the child”. It is within this framework that Educate a Child in Africa (ECA) created an initiative titled “Know your Children”.
“Know your Children” is a fun game show between children and their parents/guardians. The goal of this initiative is to assuage the different conflicts that exist within families and communities and identify the most essential needs of children. By bridging the gap between parents and their children, “Know your Children” drastically reduces disagreement, disobedience, hatred, criminality, and fighting within families and communities at large.
Educate a Child in Africa organized its “Know your Children” initiative in six communities in Limbe, the South West Region of Cameroon. First, Educate a Child in Africa sent letters to the Chiefs and quarter heads of the earmarked communities informing them about the visit. Then, the ECA team and representatives from the communities criss-crossed entire neighborhoods implementing the project in the designated homes. In the different homes visited, the children had the unique opportunity to ask their parents/guardians questions in the presence of the Educate a Child in Africa team on diverse topics all based on the development of a child. The parents/guardian answered the questions and the jury (made up of children) graded their parents based on their performance. In the end, the children awarded a prize (provided by Educate a Child in Africa) to the winner of the show.
This lively activity builds confidence, leadership and communication skills in children. Furthermore, parents get to understand the key issues and the most pressing needs of their children.
In most homes visited, the mothers won the show, likely because they spend more time with their children than fathers who are usually at work. However, even the majority of these mothers did not know some basic — albeit important — information about their children. For instance, what does the child want to do when he or she grows up? What is the child’s favorite subject in school and why? Other simple questions — about the blood group of the children and the children’s best friends in school, for instance, were challenging to both parents in about eighty percent of the homes visited.
The parents promised to get answers to the questions they had missed and requested that Educate a Child in Africa return for a follow-up show.