Discover the work of the Kukua Project for a brighter future for children in Zanzibar

date_range 18 January, 2024 question_answer Leave your thoughts

RIU Hotels & Resorts has been present in the Zanzibar archipelago since 2018 when the Riu Palace Zanzibar hotel opened. It currently has two hotels in the area, the Riu Jambo, which is aimed at families, and the Riu Palace Zanzibar, as an adults-only option. In all, 697 rooms in a paradise that brings together unforgettable landscapes and exceptional cultures.

As you know, RIU is committed to contributing to the local communities in the destinations where it operates as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility strategy. Since 2012, our company has been a member of the ECPAT network, committed to protecting children and young people from sexual exploitation in tourism and the requirements of the ECPAT Code of Conduct. That is why, since November 2022, we have been collaborating in the Safe Kids project, part of the Kukua Project, aimed at protecting children from abuse in Zanzibar.

What is the history of the Kukua Project?

The Kukua Project dates back to 2017. The founders of the project, Jennifer Pro and Margarita García, witnessed a tragic traffic accident on the island where the victims were two children. This, which is unfortunately very common in Zanzibar, was a reality check that, together with their social vocation, led them to want to create an organisation that would focus on changing this situation. Their first project was Safe Walks, focused on preventing deaths in traffic accidents. Once they had become established in the region, they realised that there were more problems to tackle, which led to their other projects, Safe Cities and Safe Kids.

Kukua’s key principles are clear: safety and sustainability. Everything that the Kukua Project does is aimed at improving the lives and the future of the people of Zanzibar, not forgetting the sustainability aspect. But the big question is, how to achieve this? In Kukua they understand that in order to achieve real changes it is first necessary to listen to the community. Kukua’s differential value is that its team includes people from the community who ensure a good relationship with the local authorities, something that is essential in terms of integration.

What is the Safe Kids program about?

Child violence is a current reality in Zanzibar. 66% of children on the islands have experienced some form of physical violence before their 18th birthday, and only one in ten children who have been sexually abused receive specialised care. The number of child abuse cases is among the highest in the world and this abuse is perpetrated by teachers, people in the community and family members. In a place where 48% of the population are children (around 800,000), we believe that the great work of the Kukua Project is essential.

In response to a direct request from the Zanzibar Ministry of Education and the local community, in 2020 Kukua initiated the Safe Kids project with the aim of reducing child abuse cases, increasing detection and protection services, and ensuring legal action is taken against perpetrators. It is estimated that the direct beneficiaries of this programme are 300 teachers, 50 families and 16 shehas, local community leaders and reference points. These are the people they turn to in any eventuality, including cases of abuse, and their participation is essential in order to improve the situation. In addition, 27,000 students and 35,360 inhabitants will benefit indirectly.

How is the programme implemented?

Kukua implements its programme through a number of actions:


1.Training teachers in detection and intervention of cases of abuse

2. Holding workshops for children

3.Raising awareness among specialised state security forces

4.Capacity building for leaders of local communities and organisations

5.Promoting awareness campaigns

6.Doing monthly outreach about the project and its evolution through Facebook, Instagram and X (formerly Twitter)

7.Publicising the project through the local media

At RIU we recognise the importance of protecting children, which is why we are proud to be able to collaborate with projects like Kukua, with which we share the values of solidarity and commitment to child welfare.

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