University of Nairobi and UNICEF Launch Courses to Tackle Harmful Social Norms Affecting Children

In a collaborative endeavour, the University of Nairobi, UNICEF Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office (UNICEF ESARO), and partnering organizations, The International Committee for the Development of Peoples (CISP) and Africa Coordinating Center for the Abandonment of FGM (ACCAF), have unveiled two pioneering short courses aimed at addressing harmful social norms that impact children.

These courses, specifically focused on keeping children safe and reducing detrimental practices, are meticulously designed to empower changemakers. The target audience includes university students in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Somalia. The knowledge and insights gained will also benefit government agencies at both the national and local levels, as well as civil society organizations in Kenya.

Recognizing the profound influence of social norms on children and communities, the University of Nairobi and its esteemed partners aspire to provide individuals with the tools needed to drive positive social and behavioural change. This initiative carries particular weight in regions where harmful practices, such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), are endemic.

Prof. Stephen Kiama, Vice Chancellor of the University of Nairobi, underscored the paramount importance of this course. He emphasized its potential to comprehend the formation of behaviours and the most effective approaches to foster positive social and behavioural change in communities grappling with such practices.

Lieke van de Wiel, UNICEF ESARO Deputy Regional Director, highlighted the transformative power of collaboration between academia and the development sector in promoting sustainable behaviour change. This initiative stands as a stepping stone for future generations to champion children's rights and propagate positive change on a broader scale.

Traditionally, efforts to combat harmful practices predominantly revolved around awareness campaigns. However, the need for a more profound understanding of the intricacies of social norms and the effective measurement of change has become apparent.

These courses have been meticulously developed with the support of the Global Programme to End Child Marriage, a joint effort by UNICEF and UNFPA across 25 countries. These programs are poised to significantly contribute to knowledge and solutions aimed at addressing harmful social norms, ultimately creating a platform for transformative change.

Prof. Margaret Jesang Hutchinson, Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Nairobi, conveyed their intent to expand the training to encompass a broader audience. This expansion will build the essential capacity for community champions who will drive the positive change needed to protect and empower children.


Article by RB Reporter