“No single organization can, on its own, effectively address the challenges of communities –particularly these of children– in all aspects. Partnerships like ‘Joining Forces’ push us to drop our egos and our logos, and commit to collaborate in areas where only “together” can we achieve significant improvements in children's lives.” – Antoinette Habinshuti (National Director, Senegal).
Antoinette was among 175 participants from 42 countries in attendance at the virtual launch of the on 20th January 2021. During the launch, participants got to hear from expert panelists who, in addition to our Senegal National Director, included Ms. Henriette Geiger (European Commission) and H.E. Professor Sarah Anyang Agbor (African Union Commission), who shared valuable insights on the critical challenges to protecting children during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, and how to address them.
Sharing her perspective from Senegal during the panel session, Antoinette shared examples of how working in consortium with other Joining Forces partners can add value, as well as plans for the JOFA Project to maximise this added value. “Even before receiving funding for JOFA, Joining Forces in Senegal was working on two initiatives, namely, advocacy to end violence against children as well as the advancement of Children's Rights - Children's Rights Now!” We have been speaking with one voice on issues of child abuse and demanding from governments to honor the agreements of the UN Convention on Child Rights; to enact Child Rights Code, and to set up a budget for child protection” says Antoinette
Furthermore, she outlined some of the ways in which World Vision is listening to children’s voices, including through Regional Consultation of Children, a study spearheaded by the West Africa regional office, to hear voices of children themselves on the impact of Covid-19 in their lives, as well as how the project will ensure children’s participation.
JOFA will enable World Vision to carry on ongoing engagements in Senegal, especially through the strengthening of associations such as ‘Young Girls Against Child Marriages’, school governments, and also the Children’s Parliament – which we are working to revamp. Furthermore, our continued efforts with partners inspire confidence that the momentum of mobilization of children seen during the first months of the pandemic (through radio, television, and social networks) will be reinforced by activities planned under the JOFA project.
“We are excited that JOFA brings an opportunity to work on the critical and timely topic of violence against children in Africa in these unprecedented times.” Antoinette shared with participants. “COVID-19 is more than a health crisis. Addressing it takes a coordinated and strengthened effort from all stakeholders, with strong leadership from country governments, bilateral donors, NGOs, and beneficiaries. The only way to address any of these challenges we face is the same way we have addressed our work as Joining Forces partners – together. The rule of the game is: together.”
In case you missed the JOFA project launch, please click on the links to access the of the meeting, or check out the .
Joining Forces Initiative is an alliance of the six largest child-focused agencies, working with and for children and young people under the age of 18 to secure their rights and end violence against children. The alliance consists of ChildFund Alliance; Plan International: Save the Children International; SOS Children’s Villages International: Terre des Hommes International Federation; and World Vision International.
The JOFA project “Joining Forces for Africa (JOFA) - Protecting Children from Violence during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond” is funded by the European Union and implemented in five African countries, starting August 6th, 2020 for a duration of 36 months.
In Senegal, the project is implemented by SOS Children’s Villages and Terre des Hommes Suisse, and World Vision which is the lead.