Protecting Child Rights, Preventing Abuse: An International Collaboration

In This Episode:

Novatus (Nova) Marandu is Executive Director of Toa Nafasi, a nonprofit in Tanzania that educates young children with disabilities and ensures that children’s rights are recognized, including the right to protection from violence and abuse. For Nova, this not only is a professional mission, but a personal one fueled by traumatic sexual abuse he experienced from age six at the hands of adult neighbors – something he dares to talk about in public despite the fear and shame that often keep this issue hidden.

Last March, Nova was referred to Mom Enough co-host Marti Erickson because of her decades of research and international work on child rights and abuse prevention, and the two quickly discovered they were kindred spirits. After a few online chats, Nova invited Marti to be his U.S. partner in creating a project to train Tanzanian teachers in child rights and abuse prevention; Marti couldn’t say no! So, the two applied for and received a grant from the Mandela Washington Reciprocal Exchange, a follow-up to Nova’s previous participation in the Mandela Washington Fellowship, part of a U.S. Department of State initiative to support young African leaders.

Fast forward to August when Nova and Marti finally met in person at the Kilimanjaro Airport (a joyful moment) and proceeded to implement a highly successful training, even as they deepened their personal and professional friendship. Despite a 43-year age difference and more than 8,000 miles between their respective homes and cultures, Nova and Marti continue to learn from and with each other. And, with strong encouragement from the 75 participants in their recent training, they already are planning ways to extend their shared efforts to protect and support children in Tanzania, the U.S., and around the world.


This week’s guest has gone public with his story of being sexually abused (raped repeatedly) by men in his neighborhood from the age of six. Why do you think it is so uncommon and brave to tell that story, not only in Tanzania, but anywhere? In what ways do you think these personal stories will help prevent other children from such trauma?


TOA NAFASI FOUNDATION. Click to learn more about this organization. And, consider following them on Facebook and Instagram

WANT TO CONTRIBUTE to Toa Nafasi Foundation’s important work? U.S.-based donors can make tax-deductible contributions to Friends of Toa Nafasi at the King Baudouin Foundation United States (KBFUS). Because KBFUS is a public charity, within the meaning of Sections 501(c)(3) and 509(a)(1) of the IRC, donors may claim the maximum tax benefits allowed by U.S. tax law for their contributions. If you wish to support Toa Nafasi Foundation, here is how to proceed:

Gifts by check: Address your check to KBFUS, write Friends of Toa Nafasi in the memo section of the check, and send it to KBFUS at 551 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2400, New York, NY 10176. 

Donate online: 

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