#16Days: Perry Kent, Zambian child rights activist

To mark 16 Days of Activism, we're shining a spotlight on inspiration activists from around the world. Perry Kent is a writer for the Junior Reporters magazine, and a child ambassador UNICEF and Save the Children.

We spoke to Perry at the African Girl Summit to find out about activism in Zambia, and his belief in young people as agents of change.

How is it to be an activism in Zambia?
Perry kent

It’s quite challenging, because you are a voice for those that don’t have the opportunity to speak out and don’t have the platform to speak out, especially women and girls who are perceived to be seen and not heard.

Some of us have taken a stand to speak up for girls especially, to make sure their rights are respected and to speak against issues like child marriage.

There are a few of us who have stood up to speak against these vices, without resources, to volunteer and go on the ground to speak on behalf of those who live in the ghettoes and the shanty compounds, who can’t articulate themselves but are facing these problems

What's the link between gender-based violence & child rights?

Women are affected psychologically, physically – and whole families are affected. It’s surprising to see how much children are affected psychosocially, mentally when they see their parents fighting. It’s not a good environment for children to grow up in. So all these issues that we advocate against go down to centre on the child, on children’s rights specifically.

For us, when we commemorate this, it’s not just a 16 Days thing. Gender-based violence is happening all the time

In Zambia we are commemorating 16 Days of Activism for gender-based violence – but for us, when we commemorate this, it’s not just a 16 Days thing. Gender-based violence is happening all the time – so yes, we spread the message, but we do so after this period too.

How can we help drive forward change?
My appeal is to states all across Africa to make a platform for young people to utilise their fullest potential, to dream big and achieve their dreams and to go far in life.

I’ve been working in the media since my childhood and I’ve seen the power the media has towards making a change in society, I believe the media can be used as an immediate short term opening to make a difference. There are a lot of ideas and innovations that young people are coming up with, but there no platform for them to express themselves.

My appeal is to states all across Africa to make a platform for young people to utilise their fullest potential, to dream big and achieve their dreams and to go far in life.

Let us move together as youths of Africa in making sure we make a positive difference in our continent.

Read the rest of our #16Days series here.