Child rights advocacy through pop music in Sierra Leone

July 2009 -

Children's Advocacy Production (CAP), a local ngo in Freetown, Sierra Leone, firmly believes that every child should memorise the Child Rights Act. So they are composing an album of songs to encourage kids to not only learn the Act but also hum it.


Children's theatre at CAP

The Child Rights Act was passed in 2007 in a move to domesticate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, but both awareness and implementation have been painfully slow. In Sierra Leone one in four children dies before their fifth birthday and the state has repeatedly failed to prevent rampant child abuse.

The group was formed in 2005 by youths in their early 20s who understand children's issues and that they learn best through entertainment. They have just finished recording the first song on their album titled Child Rights Act, which apart from the lyrics, sounds exactly like the latest pop music hit. "Kids love to memorise popular songs so this is catchy music with words from the Act", says founding member Fouad Kargbo.

The lyrics go something like "education is the key to success", "you said you will love a child, but why you change your mind" and "child trafficking is a crime". And it's in both English and local language Krio to appeal to children from all backgrounds.

Music is just one part of what they do. The group also stages plays and dance performances on issues like educating the girl child, trafficking and child labour in schools around Freetown. The acts work because they're simple and built around scenarios children can easily relate to.

They are currently pouring all their energies into this music album. "We want every issue in the Child Rights Act having its own song", adds Kargbo.