Formation of Jesuits and teachers of Saint Ignatius schools in Kigali, Rwanda on protection and safeguarding of minors and vulnerable adults

By Fr Olivier Kayitare SJ Rector of Saint Ignatius High School and CPO for Rwanda Burundi Region

On Saturday, March 9, 2019, Jesuits and teachers of Saint Ignatius High School and Ecole Primaire Saint Ignace gathered at the school hall to follow a one-day formation on child protection and safeguarding. It was attended by around 50 people. The facilitator was Mr. Theodore Nzeyimana, a child safeguarding activist who has worked with various child protection organizations in Rwanda and is well versed with the theme of child safeguarding. Fr Olivier Kayitare SJ, who is a CPO for Rwanda-Burundi Region coordinated the session.

The facilitator took participants through the concept of “who a child is” pointing out various factors affecting the development of a child, such as an environment, the culture, genetics, peer group, and so on. He invited teachers to consider all these factors when they are educating children.

Various terminologies associated with child safeguarding were extrapolated by the facilitator, delving deeper into the subject of abuse. Participants got to learn about the forms of abuse (sexual, physical, emotional, neglect, exploitation). The facilitator utilized video clips depicting child abuse for more engagement. He pointed out that abuse does not just happen in schools, but also in families and in the society at large. He educated participants on the prevention of child abuse inviting them to be proactive in the fight against child abuse. He asked everyone to recognize his/her responsibility for safeguarding children.

The attendees spent much time discussing whether physical punishment in schools should be considered as abuse or as a discipline. The facilitator explained that it is a form of abuse, and challenged the teachers to use other alternative methods of positive discipline instead.

The attendees expressed much gratitude to the facilitator and were appreciative of this formation session. They pointed out that they had learned much in this training session.

The formation which began at 1:00 pm EAT, ended around 6:30 pm EAT. The second round of formation will take place on May 11, 2019.