Presentation on theme: "CP presentation Sierra Leone By Mariatu Bangura Director of Children’s Affairs MSWGCA."— Presentation transcript:
CP presentation Sierra Leone By Mariatu Bangura Director of Children’s Affairs MSWGCA
Background Sierra Leone is on the West coast of Africa with a population of about 6 Million. There was an eleven year old civil war in the 1990s which resulted in a breakdown in all spheres of life, including child protection. There was a collapse in governance which created a big gap in child protection. During this period several child protection agencies emerged with different types of child protection systems. In 2009, the country decided to look at the various systems and see which system will best suit Sierra Leone as the country’s cultural traditions are embedded into whatever policies or strategies are to be designed.
Purpose Action Oriented Research: To promote evidence based policy development on child protection. Assessed the vulnerability and capacity of communities to respond to issues of vulnerable and excluded children, identification of factors that inhibit effective and appropriate health seeking behaviour and use of services by parents.
What was done: Household survey in 12 districts and the Western Area 13,500 people interviewed ( 7,400 children) Interviews with more than 400 policy makers
Child Frontiers mapping of the current CP system in 2010. Purpose was to: To provide national stakeholders with a descriptive profile of the existing system and an initial assessment of its functionality, effectiveness and contextual appropriateness. To identify strengths and gaps in the existing system and congruence with the current social, cultural and economic context. To examine connections between child protection and other relevant service sectors. To identify essential elements for the development of national child protection systems that resonate with formal authorities, service providers and service users. To assess formal state and non-state structures, as well as community child protection mechanisms. Methodology included: literature review, FGDs with children and adults, SSIs with front line workers
Columbia Group research on child protection community based mechanisms, 2011. The methodology used here was a rapid ethnographic research in 12 villages. It was carried out in response to a global, inter-agency desk review of mostly externally facilitated CBCPMs which reported that two key determinants of effectiveness and sustainability of CBCPMs were ownership by the community and linkage with the national child protection system. The review identified as challenges the paucity of evidence regarding the effectiveness and sustainability of CBCPMs, the failure of many externally catalyzed CBCPMs to build on already existing mechanisms and processes, and the tendency of many agencies to cause inadvertent harm by,
for example, establishing CBCPMs as parallel mechanisms that are poorly linked with the national child protection system. The research aims to strengthen CP practice in the global CP sector (also being conducted in Kenya and southeast asia).
Findings (to determine opportunities and challenges): Teenage pregnancy and child labour were identified as prevalent CP issues. There are often significant difference between what villages report as CP problems and challenges to addressing them and what policy makers think are the biggest CP problems and what the challenges are.
Majority of child abuse reported to the chiefs. Much fewer reported to the police. Most households had heard of the FSU of the SLP but there was not one nearby. Child Welfare Committees are generally not seen to be particularly effective, if there is even one in the village. Human resource and capacity constraints in the social welfare sector.
What makes children feel safe are provision of basic needs, going to school, access to health care and harmonious households (no arguing between parents) Collaboration within government and between government and other stakeholders is weak Communities are rejecting the CRA and child rights as the messages are not in line with their traditional methods of child rearing.
Importance of findings: The majority of CP work has centred around the implementation of the CRA. It is the child rights legal framework. However, whilst it has some positive aspects there are areas which of the law which are not so useful. CRA recognises the importance of the family in child welfare and provides a significant role for local councils in child welfare. However, it seeks to establish a lot of new structures or promulgate existing structures across the country (CWCs). The ability of government in a resource constrained country to monitor and provide technical support is limited.
The traditional structures are extremely important, much more so than the formal sector for the majority of people, because they are closer to the people. The majority of CP work has centred around the implementation of the CRA. It is the child rights legal framework. However, whilst it has some positive aspects there are areas which of the law which are not so useful.
CRA recognises the importance of the family in child welfare and provides a significant role for local councils in child welfare. However, it seeks to establish a lot of new structures or promulgate existing structures across the country (CWCs). The ability of government in a resource constrained country to monitor and provide technical support is limited. The traditional structures are extremely important, much more so than the formal sector for the majority of people, because they are closer to the people.
In flu ence on CP agenda: Certain structures such as child panels are not being promoted (my colleague will go into more detail in his presentation). Role of CWCs has been questioned. With only around 100 social workers in the entire country, how would such community structures be monitored? Idea of a CWC in each village has been abandoned…..focus is more on strengthening those at chiefdom level…though challenges here are there are only 149 chiefdoms and many many more villages…..so how does information flow between? How trained to deal with CP issues in adequate way and in line with human rights standards?
Decentralisation is important as it makes provision for the establishment of child welfare departments in the local councils which are closer to the people. Recent policy work has focussed on a more linked-in government to respond to CP. Draft child protection policy. The alternative care policy firmly places responsibility for care of children in the hands of families and communities and councils play a significant role in monitoring children’s homes……ref recent assessment of all children’s homes
Work on the teachers code of conduct and work on “child friendly schools” has been an effort initiated by Min. of Education but in collaboration with MSWGCA Referral protocol for victims of SGBV has been a government effort of all relevant ministries. Signed MOU between PC, CWC and FSU There is an example of a successful inter- ministerial coordination meeting, for example the juvenile justice taskforce chaired by the VP. It provides a model for future inter- ministerial collaboration and coordination.
Lessons Learnt Mapping was carried out at the time when MSWGCA was restructuring and no senior staff at central level were in post. As result MSWGCA was involved in a limited way (i.e. they were interviewed). Better to do mapping along with one senior staff member fully involved in the entire process…..ownership. Important that if Govt decides CP systems work is the way forward then it becomes a priority with one or two competent and senior ministry staff members tasked to make it go forward. They should ensure everyone within ministry, MDAs, NGOs etc are fully aware of the agenda, the work so far, progress, next steps etc…..otherwise all work comes to a standstill and CP is the responsibility of government NOT of UN or NGOs.
Need to be very clear that it is a revolving process of reform…..steps over time. Not trying to dismantle what was there, simply trying to bring everything in line with an overall vision. Need to develop a clear vision of the system before deciding how it will operate…..and this involves a lot of work by lead ministry to bring together others to come up with the overall vision and try to work within it.
Conclusions: Whilst this may seem to be providing more questions than answers, the process we have been going through as a government and partners has been invaluable. We have been asked to critique what we are doing and think about where we want to go. We still have huge obstacles such as how to monitor community structures or community CP focal persons with a limited number of staff; how to ensure chiefs and other traditional leaders can be encouraged to continue to play a role in keeping children safe but ensuring it is done within human rights standards; how to ensure there are the resources in terms of staffing, capacity etc in a low-resource country. But in order to address these questions we will develop a CP policy with support from consultancy firm.
But we have been questioning and debating and through this process we have moved forward and found some models/activities that we can implement to see if they can be replicated and taken to scale. This process will take time and it will evolve over time… In my presentation I have focussed on child protection in general. The CP system is made up of a number of building blocks, one of which is child justice. My colleague will now briefly go through the work on building and strengthening the child justice sector as one element of the CP system.