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Improving the Child Helpline service in Zanzibar

Last updated 2 months ago

Improving the Child Helpline service in Zanzibar

Earlier this month on the 12th of October, the Deputy Permanent Secretary Ms. Abeida R. Abdallah invited C-Sema for a meeting at her offices in Zanzibar which aimed at improving the Child Helpline services in Zanzibar. We were excited for them to hear about the work that we do in both Zanzibar and Mainland.

Our Chief Executive, Kiiya JK, gave a brief background on the operationalisation of the Child Helpline globally and nationally. He commended the efforts and investments of the Tanzanian Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) in supporting both the United Republic of Tanzania and the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar to run the Child Helpline services by allowing all mobile network operators in the country to provide #116 helpline number free of cost to the public.

Michael Marwa, the Head of the Helpline at C-Sema had the chance to share how well the collaboration and support from and with the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar has helped C-Sema in its pursuit to ensure that the rights of every child in Tanzania are met. He expressed gratitude to the registrars of NGOs in Zanzibar for granting C-Sema an official registration to operate legally in Zanzibar, the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar for hosting the Regional Consultation of Child Helplines for Africa and MENA region in 2019 and the government officials who participate in the Child Helplines meetings in Zimbabwe and Nairobi.

Fatuma Ahmad, the Child Helpline Manager and C-Sema’s Representative in Zanzibar, was particularly eager to describe the inner workings of the Helpline from how the calls are received by the helpline counsellors to the referral networks with the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar. She spoke on the Child Protection system in place that handles all the cases reported at the helpline with support from both Departments of Gender and Children and that of social welfare and elders, Shehas and Shehia women, Children’s coordinators as well as Gender desks, one stop centres and the outreach activities in schools and in communities that C-Sema has been implementing.

As the meeting progressed The Director of Gender and Children expressed how successful the collaboration between the ministry and C-Sema has been.

   “C-Sema has been helping the Ministry to acquire data on Violence Against Children incidences and children’s services in Zanzibar as well as implementing the NPA-VAWC by conducting collective outreach activities in communities and schools which truly has plaid a crucial part in spreading awareness and educating the masses on the dangers caused by VAC and GBV.”

The key challenge that has been facing the operation of the Helpline service has been inadequate office space that has currently been accommodating six staff members in one room including all the available furniture. The issue was previously discussed between the ministry and C-Sema resulting to the then Permanent Secretary Bi. Fatma Gharib allowing C-Sema a space within the ministry premises to set up an office space. We are thrilled to be in a position to make this transition happen thanks to the Ministry’s generosity.

Winding up the meeting we extended an invitation for the ministry to visit us at our Headquarter offices in Dar-es-salaam where the helpline runs for 24 hours seven days a week with a total of 3500 cases received daily. We were also tasked with construction and maintenance of the building that we will be occupying in order to keep the Helpline in proper working condition now and in the future.

The Ministry was and continues to be a great source of help and inspiration to all that we do. The fruitful discussions and agreements made left us with a new sense of direction in our overall plans for the Helpline. We are grateful and look forward to many more prosperous collaborations that bring positive growth and development to the country and the communities we serve.

This story was written by C-Sema’s Media Team.

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