On the sidelines of the Universal Children’s Day, UNICEF reaffirms its commitment to supporting Cameroon in safeguarding the welfare of children. Nadine Perrault, UNICEF representative in Cameroon, commended the country's recent adoption of a children’s online privacy protection law, which came into effect on July 25 following its promulgation by the President of the Republic. The legislation is designed to shield minors from online hazards, recognizing the omnipresence of the internet, cell phones, and other technologies in their lives.
Expressing appreciation for Cameroon's proactive step, Perrault noted that only a few countries have taken similar measures. UNICEF played a role in the development of this legislation. Emphasizing the benefits of digitalization, Perrault underscored the necessity for laws that not only shield children from cyber abuse but also afford them healthy and equitable access to the internet. In pursuit of this goal, UNICEF is implementing "Connect My School," an initiative facilitating children's access to digital tools, technology, and training modules currently unavailable in Cameroonian schools. This initiative aims to connect children "to the world and everything it can offer in terms of education," Perrault explained.
Launched officially in 2021 by the Ministry of Basic Education (Minedub) at the Melen annex public school complex in Yaoundé, "Connect My School" seeks to enhance learning outcomes by integrating ICT into teaching and learning practices across Cameroon's schools. Aligned with the government's vision to bridge the digital divide by 2035, the initiative aims to establish sustainable connectivity in all schools, equip children with the skills necessary for their holistic development, and contribute to inclusive national socio-economic progress.
Universal Children's Day, established in 1954, is celebrated annually on November 20 to advocate for respect and protection of children's rights. This date commemorates the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Cameroon signed the Convention on October 27, 1990, and ratified it on January 11, 1993, underscoring the government's commitment to creating an environment conducive to the full development of every child. The theme for the 2023 celebration is "For every child, every right." As a prelude to this celebration, last Saturday, children were invited to UNICEF headquarters in the Bastos district. They engaged in painting and drawing activities to express their rights (education, protection, health, etc.) on one of the building's walls. This initiative aimed to raise awareness and enhance children's understanding of their rights.
Patricia Ngo Ngouem