Rafiki began its advocacy work in 2008, after realizing the enormity of child abuse cases, much of which were unreported due to cultural influence and social pressures. It became clear from communicating with families and community members that most adults affected by child abuse did not know to whom to turn when their child was abused. Furthermore, there were minimal or no official consequences when incidences of abuse were reported. The extreme sensitivity surrounding the topic of child abuse convinced Rafiki that a community-focused child-rights-based approach was needed to redress discriminatory practices and abuse against children. Our first opportunity to address the issue came in 2008 with the establishment of a holistic child rights program. Working with children throughout the community, this program initiated the goal of raising awareness on child abuse; and building community consensus and unity on how to protect their children. Over the years, Rafiki's advocacy initiatives have grown in depth and breadth; integrating children's rights into all program activities so as to ensure that the best interests of the child, their right to survival and development is upheld, and that their voices are respected and heard.
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