Presentation on theme: "Child & Youth Participation in East & Southern Africa Reflecting on good practice & lessons learnt Presented by Dr. Rachel Bray on behalf of the Regional."— Presentation transcript:
Child & Youth Participation in East & Southern Africa Reflecting on good practice & lessons learnt Presented by Dr. Rachel Bray on behalf of the Regional Inter-Agency Task Team on Children and AIDS – Eastern and Southern Africa (RIATT-ESA)
Aims of presentation Aims of presentation Why child participation matters so much in the region; Barriers to child participation; State of play: Efforts towards child participation; Seeing the power of child participation in the revised Framework: “From Evidence to Impact”; Effective participatory processes: Rural social protection in NE Tanzania Children’s radio in rural South Africa; Lessons learnt.
Participation cannot be an ‘extra’ Revised Framework “From Evidence to Impact”: “an average of only 11% of households caring for OVC receive any form of external care and support”. WHY? Histories of social exclusion & discrimination; Erosion of self-worth (increases where stigma prevails); Culture of dependency & detachment from institutions with power (including schools); People do not hold state or voluntary services accountable; Generational effect of poverty & social exclusion; Migration & scattered families.
Barriers to child participation Cultural & socio-political context Seniority & respect; Children’s questions answered evasively / inappropriately Rights approach…threatens the status quo? Social sanctions against being poor & having HIV in the home; Children (like adults) reticent to share their distress, hence isolation; Highly gendered roles; Care as a ‘natural female role’; Feelings of guilt, anger, sadness and depression following death of a parent. Implications for access to services HIV-specific: require dedicated inclusion measures; HIV-sensitive: to prevent additional psycho-social stress.
State of play in east & southern Africa Critical review conducted in 2009 found: Desire and urgency to ‘get it right’ for CABA; Sense that participation is an important ingredient End goals differ, but are rarely made explicit; Trend so far = Once-off consultations, poor follow-up. Exceptions are: youth-led organisations; dedicated child participatory processes; funded & co-ordinated over 5+ years Attend carefully to, & enhance adult-child relationships see Good Practice examples in presentation and review.
Challenges to progress Shifting of popular attitudes & institutional culture to a participatory ethic: Age-based hierarchies create blind spots Varying histories of adult exclusion within staff body Urban/’modern’ vs rural/’backward’ hierarchy. Tackling the silo effect: Poor co-ordination between organisations working on same issues but focusing on children, youth or older people Prevents inter-generational dialogue & co-operation, the only sustainable end goal of participatory initiatives. Accessing finance to support participation: Poor knowledge amongst donors of breadth and duration of impact of participatory processes Service delivery organisations unsure how to access funds for participatory approaches (when treated as ‘extra’).
Participation & CABA Framework priorities Not only a right, but a critical enabler for current priorities: better vulnerability analysis to guide programming and targeting child-sensitive social protection, delivered through government and non-governmental agencies; Without knowing what issues face these children in this place at this time, we cannot work effectively towards their best interests New participatory research MAY not be needed Harness existing monitoring, for child-centred analysis.
Good practice 1:Child-led organisation in rural Tanzania In 2000, TdH counselling for orphans, sustainability? Labour union approach; a child-led organisation? Methodology Orphans yrs defined existing strengths & needs, & how a support organisation might function; Formed their own clusters (geographic) for mutual support; Named their organisation Vijana Simama Imara ‘Youth standing up firmly’; Co-ordination, training & fundraising by local NGO; Resources Annual cost per child in 2005 (inc. overheads) = 70 USD Visionary leader skilled in participatory approaches Skills transfer to older children & staff of NGO.
Good practice 1: Activities Regular meetings run by children; Psycho-social support and AIDS awareness; Bank run by the young people (supervised by NGO staff) VSI children can apply for interest-free loans for income generating project Conditions (e.g. training in project management) set by children; Income generation projects; Organic expansion of child-led cluster model: younger children (Rafiki Mdogo), children living with grandparents (Tato Tanu), & child carers (Kwa Wazee); Simple cash transfer programme Children paid for work done for grandparents; Children participate in evaluation & resolve. conflicts.
Good practice 1: Impact Steady growth & sustained involvement 1,700 child members in 17 clusters (within 4 years) 50 small groups of children living with grandparents, sharing work loads (within 2 years); Psychologial impact assessment: Less emotional stress, Greater confidence, self-worth & stronger future orientation; Enables alternative identity: from ‘msifits’ to members; Solidarity & trust extends children’s social networks which promotes resilience & offers protection; Improved economic conditions in home; Children know how to survive & generate own income; Mutual support within & between generations, minimal dependency on external resources.
Good practice 1: Why does it work? Protagonism…a step beyond usual ‘participation’; Clear role for ‘graduates’: Enhances inter-generational contact; Addresses social ecology, human capacity & material environment in synergy; Participatory ethic embedded in service delivery; ‘Milk Van’ versus ‘Fire truck’ approach; Systematic documentation of steps and outcomes by project staff, enables learning & replication.
Good practice 2: Children’s radio in rural South Africa Where? Ingwavuma, remote hilly area, little electricity, water, sanitation; very high HIV-related illness & death; Why? Popular images of CABA found to be inaccurate Alarm: Shaping SA policy, funding, programming & law To give children platform to depict lives for broader audience & correct mis-perceptions Facilitate meaningful skills transfer to children; How? Collaborative venture between: a primary school, local NGO, a university research & policy unit; 1 year initially, small funds: hand-made books showing complex lives of children & process documented; Enthusiasm from children: New aim=Create safe space & offer support.
Good Practice 2: Methodology Combines media, research, advocacy & support to CABA Careful recruitment & selection 1 year foundation phase (making life-story book) Regular training in interviewing & radio production Small groups of children (age 9-17) in several schools making radio & programmes (diaries, interviews, social commentaries) AND interview adults Children agree edits, work with adults, then present regular slot on local community radio; Home visits by staff to: build relationships with families facilitate social support where needed.
Good Practice 2: Outcomes Growing group of young radio producers Seeking information from experts (doctors, researchers), local politicians & community members with experience of HIV, then: Recording & broadcasting interviews to spread knowledge; Radio programmes made by children used: To stimulate discussion in 'lifeskills' clubs operating in local schools; In community workshops and meetings With parents, school principals & teachers, community workers, foster parents, local government and tribal officials To challenge these adults to think carefully about how their attitudes and behaviour towards children; To inform revisions of new South African Children’s Act; To educate nurses, teachers, journalists in RSA and beyond.
Good Practice 2: Context Cultural rules: ‘Respect’ = children must avoid eye contact with unrelated adults, Children should not approach adults unless spoken to first; Prior to project: most children had never met openly HIV positive person Children excluded from discussion of illness, not told about family deaths, kept away from funerals.
Good Practice 2: Impact Individual development & resilience to shocks: Self-confidence, improved reading & writing, coping with grief, problem solving, social networks, future orientation, targeted social, health or material support from NGO; Family level Children as ‘expert recorders’ able to open up new conversations in the home about impact of HIV Enhanced inter-generational dialogue & co-operation; Community level Radio programmes open debates, inform other children & older people Change in teacher attitudes & behaviour towards children.
Good Practice 2: Demands & Challenges Human-resource intensive process; Building capacity of project requires: Skills transfer from university-based members to local members in facilitating child-participatory processes; Funding challenges persist: Reliant on series of short-term grants & institutional core- funding of project members (not sustainable) Activities do not fit into one box Donors do not see value of multiple facets.
Good Practice 3 Phila Impilo: (‘Live Life’) Ways to Healing Urban Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa in clinics, hospitals & NGO services treating TB & HIV infected children; Aims: to support health service personnel to work directly with children To facilitate children's participation in the design of health services; Approach: acknowledges power dynamic and setting Practical application of human rights on daily basis Take participatory approach to work interface between adults & children Children & medical staff as ‘partners in health’.
Good Practice 3: Phila Impilo Activities & Impact Activities Child-centred research only point children directly involved BUT Vital demonstration of their capacity to give informed consent or dissent to their treatment, and influence care strategies Promotion sessions with staff Round-table discussions with health systems reps & experts Developing audio-visual resources for medical staff; Impact Nurses, doctors, porters: Changed attitudes & practices Children happier & healing more quickly Used in state & NGO services in 5 provinces of RSA Palliative care trainers adopting approach elsewhere in Africa.
Lessons learnt Consulting children is necessary to understand how different factors in children’s lives work together; Synergies between levels of knowledge, risk of infection, support networks, gender dynamics, household poverty, external shocks, access to services, AND how this intersection provides protection to CABA where it increases vulnerability [to infection and/or social impacts of HIV]; Attention is paid to the participation of adult family & community members with history of exclusion: Their buy-in is critical for children’s participation to work Adults who feel threatened may sabotage the process Children can open issues appropriately as ‘experts’ End goal is stronger families and communities, through enhanced inter-generational empathy & collaboration.