ETHIOPIA: Church Responds to Domestic Violence and Child Abuse During COVID 19 Pandemic

The Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat host collaborators in a meeting held on June 24, 2020, aimed at finding ways to respond to the violence against children which is emerging as an issue due to Covid-19 crisis.

The Child Nurturing and Protection office’s invitation which was called “#ZIM ALIIM”, meaning “I won’t keep quiet”, was initiated by the popular artists of Ethiopia.

The discussion focused on the increase of violence against children, women, girls and sexual abuse during the lock down and seek the way forward.

As several reports reveal, the number of confirmed cases of domestic violence in Ethiopia are increasing.

Instances of the violence, sexual assault and rape have been executed by close family members and abusive partners.

Different regional States have also reported early marriage cases that have occurred since schools’ closure.

At the meeting, the Church and her collaborators recognized the need for raising awareness on child protection, and the necessity of strategies aimed to build a favorable environment for the protection of children from the abuses.

The Church and “ZIM ALILIM” artists have agreed to work hand in hand and be committed to bring a positive impact and output in alleviating the problem.

The focus areas of their interventions will be in providing awareness raising workshops and programs which focus on attitude change.

The parties agreed to helping parents to be fully involved in the development of their children.

They also highlighted the role of religious leaders on spiritual, moral, social and intellectual aspects.

The Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat Child Nurturing and Protection office is responsible for the overall implementation of the policy whose activities include Initiating, organizing, conducting capacity support programs and ongoing training of key personnel in the Archdioceses, Eparchies, Vicariates and prefectures.

Meanwhile, the “ZIM ALILIM” artists have requested His Eminence Cardinal Berhaneyesus the Metropolitan Catholic Archbishop, to ensure that the Church’s stand is made clear on what is currently happening and to report cases of abuse through media.

Cardinal Berhanayesus responded favorably to the request and said that his message will be recorded on Friday June 26, 2020 at 10:00 am at the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat.

His Eminence Cardinal Berhaneyesus, Metropolitan Catholic Archbishop and Fr. Teshome Fikre Secretary General of the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat Were present in the meeting.

By Habtamu Abrdew Beture