There are certain cultural norms, things that are acceptable normalities of society that make actions ordinary. It's not seen as a right nor wrong offense. Why? Simple. Culture carries power, value and influences belief ssytems. Culture is a beautiful thing and it's one of the magnificent qualities of setting people apart. But there are certain things in culture that aren't pleasing. One being corporal punishment. Everyone else is doing it, it's already engraved in culture for decades of generations. Why change it? In our Child Protection Training, where a dozen of different organizations working with children were represented, corporal punishment came up. One person specifically stated, " it's apart of the culture, it's who we are. I'm not saying it's good. I'm just saying, it's us." Now, the subject matter of hitting a child, how and when is not just an East African discussion, it's global. Yet, there was a vital question that was asked during the training and it had a few of us defensive, some lost for words and many of us pondering. Reflecting in deep thought on if we absoluetly stood by a zero tolerance policy for all children.
The topic of understanding the depth of the best interest of the child was addressed when referring to corporal punishment. And here in Tanzania, a large majority of people in the room agreed that there are"some things that are done culturally, that are happening as a part of the norm; are actually harmful to children." There are some cultural beliefs that are actually not in the best interest of the child and are harming them. How to discipline a child versus punish is a difficult conversation to have amongst many. Whether you are the parent, caregiver, teacher, social worker or domestic worker, the debate of what's culturally norm versus the best interest of the child is challenging. If you are the person that agrees with discipline over punishment or vice versa. The one question that had many people contemplating thier cultural beliefs was, "Is the form of punishment in the best interest of the child and is it protecting children against abuse? What's your zero tolerance?
Inherit Your Rights stands up against child abuse and will continue to maintain a zero tolerance policy against child abuse. We believe in the best interest of children and desire bright futures for the 50% of chilren in Tanzania.