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Strengthening Child Protection Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Call to Action.

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Presentation on theme: "Strengthening Child Protection Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Call to Action."— Presentation transcript:

1 Strengthening Child Protection Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Call to Action

2 CHILD PROTECTION SYSTEMS IN AFRICA Child Protection Child protection seeks to guarantee the right of all children to a life free from violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect in both emergency and non-emergency settings Systems The best way to achieve that right Actors Children and youth, families, communities, government, civil society, and private organisations

3 INTRODUCTION: GLOBAL AND REGIONAL CONTEXT Significant changes in how the global community is approaching child protection Higher income countries– increasing focus on cost-effective early intervention, prevention and family support Middle and low-income countries – moving from single issue approaches to a comprehensive systems strengthening approach Partners in West & Central Africa start a group to discuss the mapping of child protection systems in their region. They are later joined by partners in East & Southern Africa for the preparation of the conference. Progressively, it is hoped the group is joined by North African partners in order to establish a Pan-African mouvement

4 High prevalence rates of violence, exploitation and abuse across the continent This is correlated with poor physical and mental health, including HIV-incidence, and lower educational participation and performance Investments in child protection can accordingly strengthen human capital and increase national income over the medium to long term – protection is not solely a ‘rights’ issue. IMPORTANCE OF CHILD PROTECTION

5 Projects – focus on a narrow activities Focus on categories of children – vertical approaches Focus on services/case management for individual children Short term planning – 1-2 year project cycles Duplication, Waste, Missed Opportunities Programmes – coordinated activities with a more coherent, ambitious vision Focus on all vulnerable children – not just categories – move toward horizontal programming Family-centred approach - strengthening families and communities Long term planning – 5 to 10 year vision Coordination, Efficient and Effective use of limited resources THE SYSTEMS APPROACH WHERE WE ARE HEADING…WHERE WE ARE COMING FROM…

6 1999: African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child 2006: African Youth Charter; UN Secretary General’s Study on Violence Against Children 2008: UNICEF’s Global Child Protection Strategy 2009: Countries in sub-Saharan Africa launched processes to map and understand the systems in place and decide on key priorities for action 2010: Chapin Hall Paper – Described key elements that every system – including a child protection system - should have 2012: Dakar Conference – to reinforce, support and sustain national efforts to improve the impact of child protection systems on children 2012: Delhi Conference – A better way to protect all children 2013: Joint Statement meetings and preparation KEY EVENTS AND DOCUMENTS

7 WHY A JOINT INTER-AGENCY STATEMENT? (i)To present our common understanding of child protection systems in sub-Saharan Africa and why they are important and worthy of investment (ii)To issue a call to action to governments, the African Union, regional economic communities, multilateral agencies, donors, the private sector, academia, civil society organisations, communities and organised children’s and youth groups.

8 Children THE ACTORS 8

9 ELEMENTS OF AN EFFECTIVE CHILD PROTECTION SYSTEM i.Appropriate policies, legislation and regulations ii.Well-defined structures and functions and adequate capacities iii.Supportive social norms iv.Effective promotion, prevention and response actions v.High quality evidence and data for decision-making vi.Efficient fiscal management and sufficient resource allocation. When these elements and actors work together, they create a system that is better able to protect all children.

10 The systems approach to child protection acknowledges that children face complex problems that require a multi-disciplinary response. A single child might suffer from severe neglect, exploitation, family separation, and sexual violence. Exposure to multiple risks can greatly increase the likelihood of harm to the individual child. WORKING SYSTEMICALLY IN AFRICA

11 Mapping the system – nearly half the countries have completed or launched exercises to map and assess their system Developing national policies and coordination mechanisms Including protection in national budgets and medium term expenditure frameworks Integrated Service Models at the decentralized level – that rely heavily on community-based child protection mechanisms Social Service Workforce Strengthening Monitoring and Evaluation – VAC prevalence studies SYSTEMS STRENGTHENING IN AFRICA

12 Fatou’s father left her mother when she was six. ………….. HOW DOES THE SYSTEMS APPROACH MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO CHILDREN?

13 At each step along the way, a strong child protection system can make a difference HOW DOES A SYSTEMS APPROACH MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO CHILDREN?

14 Fatou’s father left her mother when she was six. Her mother could no longer cope so she was sent to live with her Uncle in the city Her Uncle’s friend came round a lot to visit. He soon started buying Fatou gifts and began to abuse her repeatedly She kept silent as she felt scared and did not know who to tell Many months later, her Aunt discovered what was happening and immediately took Fatou to the hospital She received some treatment for the bleeding, but the Aunt told her not to say anything as this would bring shame on the family Although her Uncle’s friend did not come round anymore, Fatou found it difficult to concentrate in school

15 If the local social services were aware that Fatou’s mother was struggling financially, they could have provided a cash grant to help the family and prevent the initial separation If teachers at Fatou’s school had been trained in child protection, they might have noticed her changing behaviour in class and referred the case to the local child protection team If Fatou’s Aunt had heard on the radio a broadcast on what to do if she knew someone who was being abused, she might have call the free Helpline And if the health worker who assessed Fatou was part of an integrated services board in his town, he may have reported the case to the police and ensured the perpetrator was put in prison

16 1.continued and expanded collaboration on child protection systems strengthening among all civil society actors (organisations, communities and their leaders, families, young people and children) to ensure that their efforts reinforce each other and are enriched by the sharing of resources and experience; 2. more systematic and sustained efforts to monitor and evaluate civil society involvement in child protection systems strengthening, providing feedback on successful approaches to all partners in the system; CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATION WE CALL FOR:

17 3. further development of the role of civil society as the essential link in child protection systems strengthening between formal and less formal elements, providing the formal actors with knowledge and understanding of the communitylevel while building capacity of the civil society actors; and 4. strengthening and reinforcement by traditional and faith leaders and local representatives of community values, norms and practices that protect children, and advocacy for the transformation of those practices that put children at risk. WE CALL FOR:


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