Maun — Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU) and Child Line Organisation have signed a Memorandum of Agreement to seal their partnership on the re-launching of a campaign dubbed; My Student, My Child, My Star.
The campaign seeks to educate all stakeholders on gender-based violence (GBV) as well as to affirm that BOSETU and Child Line do not condone child abuse and student teacher relationships.
Speaking during the event, BOSETU president, Mr Winston Radikolo said their partnership with Child Line was a great milestone as the two champions of child rights were committed to preaching messages of child protection.
The theme, he said, was relevant as it came at the right time as the UN and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi had recently launched 16 days activisms against GBV.
BOSETU, he said, was always confronted with questions and through the campaign they wanted to ensure children had access to quality and inclusive education while Child Line, through its expertise, would help to address challenges faced by children.
Child Line offers support to survivors of child abuse through various intervention strategies.
Mr Radikolo revealed that an abused child could not acquire quality education because they would be overwhelmed and he believed that the campaign would close the gap of empirical evidence created by lack of research.
He stressed the need to investigate the root cause in order to end GBV, adding that at schools, they had declared zero tolerance to student teacher relationships.
He underscored the need to empower those conducting investigations. Mr Radikolo also acknowledged government efforts to fight GBV, but expressed dismay by Parliament to reject a motion that called for an establishment of a task force to investigate the root cause of GBV-related issues.
He said there was no how they could end GBV if they could not establish the root cause, adding that GBV was a multi-faceted issue.
Child Line Botswana director, Mr Olebile Machete said the initiative would make a huge difference in the lives of the children. He hailed BOSETU for extending its mandate not only to protect teachers, but also children.
Through the partnership, he said they would provide a critical role to empower pupils and impart knowledge so that they could become responsible citizens.
The principal of coalition, he said, was to leverage on each other's strength and eventually create and promote a conducive environment for children.
Issues of children negligence, Mr Machete said were worrisome and appreciated that teachers were gate keepers and that the school was the best area to identify if a child was in distress.
Child Line, he said, had pledged commitment to ensure the campaign becomes a success.
Giving the background of the project, Mr Thomas Kajuu said in 2010, they experienced escalating numbers of indiscipline cases in schools and as teachers they had a duty to protect children, hence the initiative.
The driving force behind the campaign was to make teachers aware of the parent role they play on the pupils' lives and make them aware it was wrong for teachers to have sexual relationships with their pupils. Through the campaign, he said they would ensure that national justice prevailed.