The year 2016 was declared as the Year of Action to End Violence Against Children in September 2015 as a follow-up to the release of the Report on Violence Against Children. The Priority Actions, which was designed to mitigate the troubling state of the Nigerian Child as revealed in the report made copious recommendations, which included the adoption of a System’s Approach to Child Protection and the need for mass awarenesses.

Dateline was November 2015 and I got a call from Tatenda MAKONI, #ChildProtection Specialist with #UNICEF, Abuja(as he then was). As part of the awareness for the Presidential Year of Action to End Violence Against Children #UNICEF wanted to use my story in form of a #documentary and needed my consent.

Consent granted, I was introduced to the crew from Media, Information & Narratives Development (MIND) contracted by #UNICEF to undertake the documentary, which would include a series of interviews in my office and some of my Social Empowerment Advocacy sites. The MIND team was led by this highly professional lady, Abigail Etukudo.

One of the interview sites was a school, where I had been invited to speak with children. I will be filmed while speaking and having other interactions with the precious children, which would reveal their identities when the documentary is published to be aired.

It was part of the #ChildProtection protocol of #UNICEF that we must get the consent of every child who is to appear in the documentary. In line with the protocol, we sent consent forms in advance to the school I was speaking at to share with the #parents for the signed consents. The signed consent forms, which were in duplicate were returned to the school before the filming of the documentary and the same was confirmed to us by the school. On the day of the shooting, Ms. Etukudo and her team meticulously checked #children in with their consent form and any child who was without a consent form was not allowed in the the hall for the filming.

It was a highly emotional experience for me. The emotional part of my Child Advocate cap stood in toe-to-toe competition with that of the discipline and professionalism of a S.A.F.E® for Children ETHICIST as I saw the huge disappointment in the faces of the precious children, who could not make it into the hall because their consent forms were not returned.

Ethics prevailed in the spirit of CARE BY ALL STANDARD NECESSARY. This is what we are advocating for in this campaign #NOPROTECTIONNOSCHOOL.

I invite you to join us tomorrow as we draw fundamental lessons from the exercise discussed here.

Do have an INSPIRED day.

S.A.F.E® for Children ETHICIST

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