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The 7 Essentials of Child Abuse | Amira Kamel

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Children are like diamonds. It is entirely up to us to make them shine or not. If we cannot help them shine, then at least we can help them not to break.

In this article, we will go through the 7 essentials of child abuse that every adult needs to be aware of to keep children safe.

 

1- What age range do children fall under?

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) defines a “child” as a person below the age of 18, unless the laws of a particular country set the legal age for adulthood younger. The Committee on the Rights of the Child, the monitoring body for the Convention, has encouraged States to review the age of majority if it is set below 18 and to increase the level of protection for all children under 18.

2- What is child abuse?

Child abuse is any action by another person (adult or child) that causes significant harm to a child.

The World Health Organization distinguishes four types of child abuse: physical, sexual, emotional and neglect.

Physical abuse means hitting, beating, and shaking.

Sexual abuse means sexual contact or exposure to sexual acts or materials.

Emotional or psychological abuse means threatening, insulting, ridiculing, or confining.

Neglect means failing, despite having the means, to provide medical care, education, shelter or other essentials for a child’s healthy development.

An abused child will often experience more than one type of abuse, as well as other difficulties in their lives. It often happens over a period of time, rather than being a one-off event. And it can increasingly happen online.

3- Child Abuse Statistics

  • 5 children die every day because of child abuse.
  • 1 billion children aged 2–17 years, have experienced physical, sexual, emotional violence or neglect in 2017.
  • 1 in 4 adults were physically abused as children.
  • 23% of the children were physically abused.
  • 36% of the children were emotionally abused.
  • 16% of the children were neglected.
  • 18% girls and 8% boys were sexually abused.
  • 90% of abused children know their abuser.
  • Only 10% of child abuse victims disclose their story out of fear.
  • Every year, about 41,000 children under 15 years are victims of homicide.
  • Research shows that children with disabilities are four times more likely to suffer from abuse or neglect.

4- What increases the risks of child abuse?

First: Having parents or caregivers who: 

  • Suffered abuse or neglect as children.
  • Misuse drugs or alcohol.
  • Are involved in other forms of violence, such as intimate partner violence.

Second: Living in communities that:

  • Have high unemployment.
  • Lack support services for families.
  • Have high tolerance for violence.

Third: Living in societies that:

  • Don’t have adequate legislation to address child abuse.
  • Have cultural norms that promote or glorify violence.
  • Have social, economic, and health policies that lead to poor living standards or socio-economic inequality.

5- Child Abuse Consequences

Adults who were abused or neglected as children have a higher risk of:

  • Perpetrating or being a victim of violence.
  • Depression.
  • Obesity.
  • High-risk sexual behaviours and unintended pregnancies.
  • Harmful use of tobacco, drugs, and alcohol.
  • Studies show that child abuse has high economic costs — in medical expenses, legal costs, and lost productivity.
  • Child abuse can actually slow a country’s economic and social development.

6- How can we identify a child abuse case?

The appearance and behaviour of a child define the abuse type children are being exposed to.

Some of physical abuse appearance signs are bite marks, burns, frequent injuries, and/or wearing long sleeves to cover them. Children suffering physical abuse are usually shy, hard to get along with, avoidant, anxious, and/or afraid of parents.

Some of sexual abuse appearance signs are torn, stained or bloody clothes, and pain or itching in genital areas. Children suffering sexual abuse have inappropriate sexual touching of other children, extreme reluctance to be touched in any way, abrupt change in behaviour, and/or sexual behaviour or knowledge that is inappropriate for the child’s age group.

Emotional abuse behaviour signs are more obvious than appearance signs. Some of them are withdrawal from friends and social activities, frequent lateness or absence from school, loss of self esteem, defiant behaviour, and/or changes in school performance.

Some of neglect appearance signs are poor hygiene, dirty hair, body odour, clothes inappropriate for the weather, and/or in need of medical or dental care. Children suffering neglect are often tired, have no energy, lethargic, and/or beg or steal food.

7- How can we prevent child abuse?

1- Raise awareness of parents and caregivers regarding child development and healthy positive strategies for raising children.

2- Educate and train children to improve their knowledge of abusive situations and teach them social skills to protect themselves and to interact in positive ways.

3- Promote norms and values that support pro-social and non-violent behaviour.

4- Strengthen income and economic interventions to increase investments in children.

5- Respond and support services to help children that have been exposed to violence.

6- Create and sustain safe environments for children.

7- Implement and enforce laws, such as laws banning violent punishment of children by parents, teachers or other caregivers.

Resources: 

– United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF)

– World Health Organization

– INSPIRE: Seven strategies for Ending Violence Against Children 

– National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

– My Body is My Body Programme

– Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina 

 

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Amira Kamel

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Africa speaks

Adaku Efuribe: The Power of Positive Energy

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Adaku Efuribe is a Clinical Pharmacist

When you start thinking the right way, your life starts getting the right way. To experience a feeling, you must first entertain the thought that produces that feeling.

It is not rocket science that we are responsible for our own happiness. What are you thinking about today, what energy are you producing in your ‘emotional factory’-positive energy or negative energy?

Believe me; your thought pattern is vital to your emotional well-being and general health.

Thoughts are very powerful and to live a healthy normal life, we have to become masters of our own thoughts. We have to think positive thoughts. When you look at a glass of water, do you believe it’s half empty or half full?

The best time to be positive is first thing in the morning and last thing at night. In Nigerian local markets, traders have this belief that what happens very early in the morning, or the attitude of the first customer you serve would determine how the rest of the day would go. If your first customer was not rude and happily paid for your goods without long bargains, it is generally believed business would be good for the rest of the day.

What you do immediately you wake up from bed would definitely affect how you feel throughout the day. There is no such thing as waking up from the wrong side of the bed. When I wake up in the morning, I thank God for the blessing of staying alive; I say a little prayer and commit the rest of the day to the Lord. In that way my mood is elevated and I trust that I would be having a good day. At the end of the day, I reflect on how the day went, I tend to count my blessings, I do not focus on the day’s disappointments, rather I think about my achievements for the day; this helps me to re-fuel my positive energy for the next day.

Also Read: Irene Mbari- Kirika- inABLE.org, Career and Impact

Going through the pandemic period, losing a job, losing a loved one or facing economic hardship is all energy draining. But your survival greatly depends on how you manage your emotions. The way you see things or respond would determine whether you go into full blown depression or anxiety.

Some thoughts could spoil your day and drain your energy; other thoughts could energise you and give you hope. When you think positive thoughts you refuel your happiness, you refuel your ambition, your increase your patience level and you manage your emotions better.

So, start today to think the right way, and watch your life change for the better, it may take some time to feel and respond to things differently. Keep working at it, practice makes perfect.

Author: Adaku Efuribe is a Clinical Pharmacist

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Africa speaks

Africa Rising: Why Project Managers Are Critical to Africa’s Future

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Photo by NESA by Makers on Unsplash

With a rapidly growing population and economy, Africa is poised to take on massive infrastructure upgrades, and they’ll need talented project managers to lead the charge.

If you want to see the future of project management, look to Africa. The world’s second largest continent by both land mass and population is home to the world’s largest free-trade zone and is experiencing significant population growth and urbanization. These trends, in turn, are driving massive investments in infrastructure, but they’re also giving rise to flourishing film and music industries and attracting significant technology investment dollars.

What’s especially exciting about the future of Africa is the coming “youthquake” poised to drive change across the region. Fully 75 percent of the population is under 25! This means that the people who stand to benefit the most from all these developments are the young. It also means that responsibility for managing many of these projects will be shouldered by a new generation of project managers. 

 

These young managers have a natural affinity for the growing African film, music and technology industries: 

  • Nigeria is home to “Nollywood” – the second largest movie industry in the world after Bollywood in terms of output. It produces 2,500 films a year. 
  • The African music industry is also thriving. New African streaming platforms like Boomplay, uduX and Simfy have emerged in recent years, attracting investments from music industry stalwarts like Universal and Warner. And consumers are flocking to hot new music festivals like AfroChella and Afro Nation. 
  • Africa is also pulling in investment dollars from technology and fintech firms. According to African Tech Startups Funding Report, 311 African tech startups raised $491.6 million last year alone. And a report from Briter Bridges and GSMA indicates the number of active tech hubs in Africa has almost doubled to 618 over the last three years.

In addition to these industry hot spots, infrastructure remains a high priority across the continent. Despite recent economic development, only 38 percent of the African population has access to electricity. Three-quarters of all roads are unpaved. And 416 million Africans still live in extreme poverty. These numbers spell out why infrastructure development remains such an urgent priority. 

Also Read: L’Oréal Appoints Hlengiwe Mathenjwa As Director

In 2018, for the first time, Africa’s commitments to infrastructure projects exceeded US$ 100 billion, according to the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa (ICA). These mega projects included: 

  • Grand Inga Dam on the Congo River in the Democratic Republic of Congo – Estimated to cost US$ 80 billion, Grand Inga is the world’s largest hydropower project in the world (and expected to be twice as large as the Three Gorges Dam in China). 
  • Bagamonyo Port in Tanzania – A joint venture of Tanzania, China and Oman will be the largest port in East/Central Africa. 
  • Konzo Technology City in Kenya – Called Africa’s Silicon Savanna after Silicon Valley in the U.S., this smart city project is part of Kenya’s Vision 2030 plan and is expected to generate 17,000 high-value jobs and 68,000 indirect jobs.

As noted, both population growth and urbanization are powering this development. Already home to 1.2 billion people, Africa has the highest rate of population growth in the world. The United Nations projects that more than half of all global population growth will occur in Africa, and the population of sub-Sahara Africa alone is expected to double by 2050.  

Africa is also increasingly urban. The world’s fastest-growing cities are now in sub-Saharan Africa where, according to the World Bank, 472 million people live in cities. They expect that number to more than double to 1 billion by 2040, due to high birth rates and migration from rural areas. (That’s the fastest rate of urbanization in the world.)  

All these developments are creating enormous demands for project managers who can deal not only with technical complexity but with the transnational nature of many of the projects. An 832-kilometer electrical transmission project in West Africa, for example, crosses four countries: Nigeria, Niger, Benin and Burkina Faso. The LAPSSET megaproject in East Africa involves a port and oil refinery in Kenya, a railway line and two pipelines between southern Sudan and Ethiopia, and three airports, among other projects. 

The pace of development is just as rapid within individual countries. In Zambia, where the population has doubled to 17 million since 1993, infrastructure projects include four international airports, the US$ 4 billion Batoka Gorge hydroelectric power station, and Link 8000, a 10-year, US$ 31 billion project to rehab and construct 2,000 kilometers of roads.   

The need and opportunity for young project managers are clearly immense – but so are the challenges. Some of these challenges are economic. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Africa’s economy is expected to contract between 2.1 and 5.1 percent in 2020 – the region’s first recession in 25 years.  

Large-scale projects can ensure long-term growth, but they also require sophisticated project management skill sets. Young project managers will need training and mentorship to lead Africa’s development efforts. At PMI, we’re supporting their needs through our training and certification programs and through the guidance and encouragement that comes with participating in local chapter activities.

The next generation of project managers in Africa will play a critical role in transforming their continent, and, in doing so, will inevitably reshape the world of project management. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see what’s next! 

Author: Otema Yirenkyi, VP Global Engagement, Sub-Saharan Africa

PMI

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Africa speaks

Systemic Racism- A Case of Elon Musk

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Humankind artwork by @tristaneaton flew with the Dragon spacecraft this past Saturday.

Please note: This article is not about Elon Musk and his family being racist or direct supporters of any form of oppression. (Article by: Mariatheresa Samson Kadushi)

“You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great- and that’s what being a spacefaring civilization is all about. It’s about believing in the future and thinking that the future will be better than the past. And I can’t think of anything more exciting than going out there and being among the stars.”- Elon Musk

For me and my 10 year old son, our biggest news for the past few days has been SpaceX’ Falcon 9 historic launch. Stuck in two different continents due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, it didn’t stop us from livestreaming and witnessing two astronauts embarking on Crew Dragon’s second demonstration (Demo-2) mission, launching from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida (USA) to the International Space Station. #launchamerica was a great moment of inspiration and turning point for Elon Musk’sexploration mission to the Moon, Mars and Beyond.

Humankind artwork by @tristaneaton flew with the Dragon spacecraft this past Saturday.

In parallel to #launchamerica this week, another big news has been protests in United States and around the world following George Floyd’s death. Masses of people have been expressing their outrage against police brutality and racial profiling. More frustration is directed towards systemic racism that allows a flawed criminal justice system to thrive; one recent example being lack of action for two months after Ahmaud Arbery’s murder by a white ex cop.

What would have been Elon Musk’s future if he was born black in South Africa?

Elon Musk was born in South Africa eighteen years after apartheid was established. Apartheid was a system of institutionalised racial segregation that existed in South Africa and South West Africa (now Namibia) from 1948 until the early 1990s. It was characterised by an authoritarian political culture based on baasskap (or white supremacy), which ensured that South Africa was dominated politically, socially, and economically by the nation’s minority white population. (Source: Wikipedia)

Race was a deciding factor for the quality of education, housing, healthcare, voting, public services, employment, business or property ownership and marital or sexual relationships. Over the years, racial separation and oppression resulted to not only peaceful protests but also violent resistance, thousands of deaths, mass incarceration, detention and extreme use of police force.

Despite remarkable efforts and strong opposition within South Africa and globally Apartheid remained in effect for more than 48 years.

An image illustrating segregation in South Africa (Image credit: Mariatheresa Samson Kadushi)

“ The native [referring to an African] must not be subject to a school system which draws him away from his own community, and misleads him by showing him the green pastures of European society in which he is not allowed to graze”- Dr. Hendrik Verwoerd “Minister of Native Affairs” (1950–1958).

If Elon Musk was born black in South Africa he would have been subjected to attend Bantu schools, a separate education system that was designed to prepare blacks to lead their lives as a laboring class. This, along with many other hurdles would have made it difficult or even impossible for him to build a future that is currently transforming and creating new possibilities for humankind. If Elon Musk was born black in South Africa, his skin color would have been a deciding factor for his intellect, existence and future.

To the privileged ones……

From time to time, people based on their skin colour find themselves in a lesser or superior side of the playing field. Elon Musk and many white South africans were just born in an unequal society, they neither asked for it nor had much of a say on how oppressive structures were run by the state. Systemic oppression is not individualistic and white privilege doesn’t mean that your life is not difficult, it plainly means that the color of your skin isn’t one of the things contributing to your life difficulties.

In this era, we can collectively take action against structures of oppression and institutionalized racism. If you are white, examine your privilege and educate yourself, become an ally, voice your opinion, join people of color in protesting peacefully, build resistances and support movements easing racial disparities and injustices.

Here is a poem by my white friend Joel Moskowitz.

I too am familiar with hatred as I am a Jew, but in today’s America my problems are relatively few,

For the brown, red, yellow or blacks; equality, fairness and rights is what America lacks,

Protection, justice, enfranchisement and equal opportunity are held back from some, seemingly in perpetuity.

I have never felt the blow from a policeman’s baton nor the tightness of handcuffs ever put on,

I have never unfairly been locked in a cell nor feared routine traffic stops as if facing hell,

I’ve never been needlessly separated from my mother or brother nor rendered uncomfortable by basic interaction as if I was the “other”

I was taught to judge my fellow man by the content of his character only to receive advantage of which I am an all too willing inheritor,

I’ve been told that the arc of morality always points towards justice yet we give no reason for people of color to trust us,

It helps no one if I say I am color blind, if to institutional racism I pay no mind,

If by my silence I perpetuate this evil creed then I am just as guilty for this pernicious deed.

I will conclude with a quote by a human rights activist and Nobel prize winner Desmond Tutu

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”

Photo by Xena Goldman

Also Read: These two Africans are helping businesses and individuals spend less time doing expenses with Xpensi

Article by: Mariatheresa Samson Kadushi– Humanist with loud thoughts and Founder, Mobile afya| Digital health | technology and innovations

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