Strengthening child protection and participation

The adoption of the National Strategy for the Protection of Children in December 2013 represented a decisive step towards realizing the rights of the child in Senegal. However, despite the Government’s commitment to overcoming the problems that hinder the improvement of child protection, certain social practices continue to derail efforts to make children’s rights the norm. Child marriage remains a reality, with a prevalence rate of 33 per cent, child labor has been recorded at 15 per cent (UNICEF 2014) and female genital mutilation stands at 26 per cent. To help improve the well-being of children, World Vision Senegal has stepped up its support for State initiatives this year, through strengthening child protection mechanisms in the community and promoting social norms and behaviors that are more favorable to child protection and care for child violence. 
 As well as supporting more than 500 local child protection committees, World Vision is also building up a network to monitor and prevent abuse and mistreatment. These committees play a significant role in changing social norms and behaviors that are more supportive of child protection, detecting and responding to cases of violations, including reporting and referrals to formal care services.These actions and interventions are also implemented at the child, family, community and government levels to better protect children, in line with child protection principles and best practices. This has contributed this year to the following results:
  • Promotion of social norms and behaviors that are more favorable to child protection, through the implementation of Project Models such as Channels of Hope and Celebrating Families. This includes training 317 religious leaders and 229 spouses in order to provide support to the most vulnerable children in the community. The objective is to build positive relationships and provide an environment that ensures safety, social justice and participation in civil society for children within the Senegal religious context.
  • Care for 64 cases of child violence and follow up with medical, legal and psychosocial support.
  • Regular broadcast of radio programs involving communities, technical services and partner organizations (imams, midwives, representatives of the Departmental Committees for Child Protection, neighborhood delegates, teachers, open educational services, and representatives of the Children’s Parliament), which itself gave rise to the exposure and reporting of 70 cases of violence against children (marriages, sexual abuse, physical violence).
  • Capacity building for 59 professionals in the child protection sector on how to receive child victims of sexual abuse and mistreatment, listen to their disclosures and support them.
The participation of children themselves has been central to how these activities have been designed, as actors of their own protection, by listening to them and taking into account what they have to say and especially by recognizing the value of their experiences, opinions and specific concerns, and also their status as rights holders. Capacity building has given them new skills and increased their self esteem, helping to eliminate that sense of powerlessness often associated with childhood.Consequently more than 30 child protection units and more than 400 Kids’ Clubs have been set up in different schools in order to improve the children’s protection skills and resilience.