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Naming – and shaming?

In Harare, Child Safeguarding Training is delivered for all newly recruited and / or recently deployed members of staff.  Although I have attended child protection training in the UK and am familiar with the Save the Children Safeguarding policy, this training sets everything in the Zimbabwe context and is really useful.

When we are talking about the different kinds of abuse, we touch on emotional abuse and a Zimbabwean member of staff raises the issue of how Zimbabwean children are named. It is common practice in Zimbabwe, she says, to name your children in order to goad or taunt your neighbours, so that when a child’s name is called, the message going to the neighbours is crystal clear! Children are named ‘living with poverty’ ‘belittled’ and ‘destroy’.  Conversely, I have met people here named ‘precious’, ‘talent’ and ‘blessing’.

We discuss many safeguarding issues in relation to Zimbabwe. We touch on the tendency in rural schools for children to take on work routines, including cleaning the teachers’ quarters, which many feel is inappropriate. We also touch on migrant workers, moving into communities, taking money and power with them and presenting safeguarding risks to children.

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