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Child & Youth Participation in East & Southern Africa Reflecting on good practice & lessons learnt Presented by Dr. Rachel Bray on behalf of the Regional.

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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:

1 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)

2 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.

3 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.

4 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.


6 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.

7 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’).

8 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.


10 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 13-18 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.

11 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.

12 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.

13 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.


15 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.

16 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.

17 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.

18 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.

19 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.

20 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.


22 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’.

23 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.


25 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.

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