By Marta García Terán. Thirteen-year-old Solieth Medrano is an ethnic Miskito who is in third year at secondary school in Bilwi. She is also participating in a series of workshops promoted by UNICEF Nicaragua in the framework of the #ENDViolence global initiative for the elimination of violence against children, which started in 2013.
“I’ve learned the signs for detecting sexual abuse and to identify people of trust you can report it to,” Solieth explains. Along with another 126 male and female adolescents from the municipalities of Bilwi in the North Atlantic Autonomous Region, Bluefields in the South Atlantic Autonomous Region and Somoto in the department of Madriz, she is participating in the workshops given by the “Los Cumiches” Social Communication and Mobilization Association in collaboration with UNICEF. During these workshops they are taught about the different forms of violence against children, particularly sexual abuse, and about information and communication technologies (ICTs).
“If a friend tells me something bad happened to her, that she was abused, I’d help her report it,” Solieth says, adding “If she tells me I have to keep it quiet, I won’t do it because that’s something bad; I can’t keep it hidden.” With this determination, Solieth is supporting the #ENDViolence initiative, which calls for the public recognition of the problem of violence against children and encourages support for local movements to address this problem, which is so urgent throughout the world.
“The most important thing I’ve learned in these workshops is to use a computer,” Solieth states emphatically, as she is quite clear that after finishing secondary school she wants to go on studying to be an accountant or secretary. She goes to the cybercafé to do her school work, but only now has she received training on how to get the most out of a computer.
The Network of Adolescent Communicators for the Prevention of Sexual Abuse through ICTs is part of a process to generate a movement to create and strengthen alliances around the rights of children and adolescents. In this respect the main responsibility of the adults and institutions continues to be accompanying and responding to the demands of the adolescents, in this case in relation to the prevention of sexual abuse.