Why You Just Walk By: A Need to Cultivate Empathy

A blog piece by C4C

Making East Africa a safe environment for all children will require the cultivation of empathy among those who currently walk by when they see or hear of the mistreatment of children.

We think there are two main reasons individuals walk by:

  • Societies across East Africa have historically not seen the rights of children as equal to adults and people often have misconceptions that children are ‘to blame’ or ‘deserve’ the mistreatment they are being dealt
  • Individuals do not feel they have the knowledge or tools to respond confidently and effectively to an incidence of child abuse or mistreatment

If you are reading this, it is likely that you fall into that second category. It is essential that individuals are empowered to turn that feeling, at a deep and visceral level when we witness acts against children, into a feeling so strong that it wills us to stop. It wills us not to just accept this as the norm but challenge this behaviour.

The feeling in the pit of your stomach, when your body tells you this act against a child is wrong is what we call this the Ujasiri mindset. Translating from Kiswahili as ‘bravery’, we see people with this mindset as protentional protectors. At Citizens4Change we provide you the toolkit that will help you have the confidence to take action that may result in the end of that mistreatment for the child/children or be the catalyst for an intervention from a group or organisation who can support that young person, as well as the perpetrators who may not understand the impact of their actions.

If every adult with the Ujasiri mindset took action, children across East Africa would be surrounded by a caring community of protectors. Those protectors would also be able to learn from each other, as well as being supported and empowered by each other. If this feels like a community and a movement you want to be part of, visit: www.citizens4change.org to sign up and learn more.

Keep your eyes out for an upcoming blog about how protectors and those with an Ujasiri mindset, can influence and support other adults to develop this way of thinking and feeling.

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  • WE BELIEVE that if every adult is empowered to protect children then we can collectively build safe and inclusive societies for everyone in Africa.

  • WE IDENTIFY Citizens 4 Change who protect children via household surveys, com-munity meet-ups and our civil society partners, finding out about their mind-sets and actions via interviews, surveys and polls.

  • WE USE CIVIC TECH to map Citizens 4 Change and visualise their impact.

  • WE EQUIP Citizens 4 Change with new knowledge, tools and relationships, via access to online courses and community conversations.

  • WE MOBILISE Citizens 4 Change to take more action to protect children, spread the word about the C4C community, create demand for their local leaders to invest in children’s services, and participate in community planning and budgeting processes.


Citizens 4 Change (C4C) is a community of East African citizens who do the right thing by children and young people. Our mission is to widen the circle of care so that every child has a trusted, supportive adult in their lives, and is protected from harm.

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