Towards a Healthy Childhood: a Study of YWCA Communication strategies used in the fight against child sexual abuse

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Kirimania, Susan K.
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This report is based on a study that sought to assess the communication strategies put in place by the YWCA to fight child sexual abuse, and in particular defilement of girls. The problem of child sexual abuse especially the defilement of girls seems to have worsened over the past few years in Zambia going by available statistics and the number of cases reported by the media. Quantitative and qualitative data was collected using questionnaires, in- depth interviews and document analysis. Quantitative data was analyzed using SPSS to generate frequency tables and percentages. Qualitative data collected from in-depth interviews was analyzed and coded according to emerging themes.The research findings indicate that the communication campaign for social and behaviour change used by the YWCA- ASAZA programme encompasses the organized use of a range of mass media, group and interpersonal communication strategies. Different communication channels such as radio, television, drama, workshops, newspapers,posters, billboards and door to door awareness campaigns are used to deliver messages to the target audience. The study has brought out some important findings, among them is the fact that the respondent’s area of residence which is also a reflection of the educational level attained and economic status did not seem to have an influence on their understanding of the terms child sexual abuse and defilement. Findings from the research also revealed that most of the children that were interviewed depend on interpersonal communication means such as parents and teachers as their main source of information on different issues. The adult respondents depend on mass communication through electronic and print media such as television, radio and newspapers as their main source of information.Residents from the high density area mainly depend on radio and television and residents from medium and low density area mainly depend on newspapers, radio and television as their sources of information. The study also brought out another important finding which is that the ASAZA programme works with opinion leaders such as chiefs, headmen, church leaders, teachers and members of parliament who are engaged as members of positive change. The ASAZA programme also partners with different organizations such as the Police Victim Support Unit (VSU) and the Social Welfare Department to assist victims of gender and sexual based violence. Findings from the study have revealed that even though the communication campaign needs to be more consistent and better funded, the communication strategies used by the YWCA- ASAZA programme have been effective in the fight against child sexual abuse. The number of cases being reported has increased over the past few years because people are now aware that defilement is a criminal offence. This can be attributed to the informational, educational and behaviour change communications that are in place to fight child sexual abuse
Communication in medicine--Zambia , Health Education--Zambia , Medicine Information Services , Sexually Abused Children