Addis Ababa, 28 November 2013- To celebrate Universal Children’s Day – the anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child -UNICEF Ethiopia participated in the 8th Ethiopian International Film festival, to promulgate children’s rights to the public using public announcements, documentaries and photos as a channel.
Throughout the event UNICEF is showing public service announcement on different topics affecting children’s rights to the public. International and local celebrities like the world famous Argentinian football player Leo Messi, actor Liam Neeson, singers Angelique Kidjo, Katy Perry, Lenny Kravits, Aster Aweke, The Ethiopia Wallia team and the young advocator for children Hanna Godefa were seen joining UNICEF and taking up the issues of violence against children, barriers of education and HIV/AIDS.
For its premier UNICEF presented yesterday a short documentary: Overcoming Barriers: Famia and Rasso’s Journey in Pursuit of Education at the Italian Cultural Institute. It is a story of two adolescent girls in rural kebele of Djudjuma, near Dire Dawa who faced forced marriage and other economic and social obstacles to continue their studies. “This ground breaking documentary has given us a perspective from the adolescents themselves, their true stories and their realities that they go through in life,” said Mr Ibrahim Sesay, Child Protection Specialist of UNICEF Ethiopia. “It’s a call to joint action for all stakeholders – government, media, religious groups, community based organizations, development partners and children – to strengthen the current collaborative partnerships to end child marriage.” The documentary is based on the Situation Analysis study on Investment in Boys and Girls conducted by UNICEF in collaboration with the Ministry of Women Children and Youth Affairs and Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in 2012.
The premier was attended by the media, film industry community and teachers who discussed on the role of different stakeholders in protecting children and enabling them achieve their dreams after the screening. “The protection of children from all forms of violence is a fundamental right and we have to ensure that all children, everywhere and at all times are not victim of child marriage and such platforms should provoke conversations that will enhance change in behaviour starting at the family and community levels,” Mr Sesay added. “We need to join forces to get a zero sum game for the abandonment of harmful traditional practices that marginalise as well as violate children’s right, especially the girl child.”
The 8th Ethiopian film festival is being held from 25 November to 2 December 2013 in Addis Ababa. The festival is screening both national and international film producers in a week long programme encompassing International Organizations, embassies, NGOs, civil societies and other interest groups to premier their productions and draw a wide range of discussions on issues relevant to their field.