Child protection symposium report available

child-protection-symposium-report_ipstc-and-save-the-children_dec2016_page_01The report of the Child Protection in Peace Support Operations symposium held on 13 October 2016 is now available here: Symposium report

The symposium was an opportunity to discuss child protection issues, learn from each other, and build and strengthen collaboration among actors.

The event was organized by Save the Children through the project Strengthening Child Protection in African Union Peace Support Operations (PSO) in East and West Africa and the International Peace Support Training Centre (IPSTC).

Related post: Enhancing collaboration in the complexity of conflict: child protection symposium

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Enhancing collaboration in the complexity of conflict: child protection symposium

IPSTC and Save the Children Child Protection in Peace Support Operations Symposium, Nairobi, 13 October 2016

Group photo of participants

On 13 October 2016, Save the Children through the project Strengthening Child Protection in African Union Peace Support Operations (PSO) in East and West Africa and the International Peace Support Training Centre (IPSTC) organized a Child Protection in Peace Support Operations Symposium.

The event was attended by child protection actors from: Regional Mechanisms, Training Centers of Excellence, United Nations, Humanitarian and Non-Governmental Organizations; the government and academia.

Below are the presentations made on the day:

Session 1:  An overview of child protection in peace support operation

Session 2:Protection of children in armed conflict: Reintegration of Child Soldiers in DRC

Session 3:
Child protection training effectiveness: Challenges and opportunities Catherine Cherotich

Child protection training effectiveness: Challenges and opportunities ,Edwin Kimani

Session 4: Strengthening collaboration in peace support operations

Click here for the event photos, event photos

For background information about the event, click here

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Enhancing child protection capacity through peace support operations training

On 29 Aug – 09 Sept 2016 I attended a Child Protection Course that was funded by the Government of Denmark at the International Peace Support Training Centre (IPSTC) in Karen, Nairobi.

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Course presentation slide by Catherine Cherotich, IPSTC

At a time when children continue to bear some of the most devastating consequences of war, the changing nature of conflict in our recent times which has seen the civilian population, hugely made up of children being targeted, this important course equipped participants with important skills and knowledge on issues of child protection during armed conflict situations.

According to UNICEF, in South Sudan, approximately 13,000 to 16,000 children have been reportedly recruited into the armed forces and armed groups since the beginning of the conflict in December 2013.

‘Trauma experienced in conflict can cause lifelong negative effects to children’ IPSTC director Brigadier Patrick Nderitu says.

Child protection is important to ensure that children are protected from violence, abuse, displacement and other harmful effects of conflict that continue to disproportionately affect children.

The Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) recognized the training of peacekeepers on child rights and child protection as a key priority. Among other interventions, organizations such as Save the Children, UNICEF and various governments invest in offering child protection trainings in order to equip actors with the required skills, knowledge and capacity to protect children.

Topics covered
Among the modules covered in the 2 weeks training included, conceptualization of a child and child rights, children in armed conflict, the nature of armed conflict, dynamics of conflict and post conflict situations, child involvement in conflict, peace support operations and child rights, international, regional and national instruments, roles and responsibilities of peacekeeping mission components and external partners, military roles and task on child protection, prevention, responses and coordination frameworks for child protection, UN agencies, structures and mechanisms, monitoring and reporting mechanisms among others.

Participants at the coppturse included the military, police and civilian components from various countries in Africa, Britain and mission staff. Using case studies, participants discussed the applicability of interventions for child protection including: advocacy, awareness raising, behavioral change, capacity building, provisional of social activities, livelihood improvements, mainstreaming child protection, monitoring child protection incidence and activities, incidence and alternative care, case management and family tracing, re-integration and re-unification.

Emmanuel Jar
During the course we got to watch a clip by Emmanuel Jar who became a child soldier at 8 years, fighting a war that he did not understand anything about in Sudan. Emmanuel narrates his struggles as a child soldier, his pain, his struggles but through the efforts of an aid worker he was rescued. He is now an international hip-hop artist and an activist for other children in war zones. The touching video is a call and a reminder to be steadfast and resilient in protecting children and to join forces as an international community to work on restoring peace in many places around the world being affected by conflict.

‘Peace support operations actors have a responsibility to create a peaceful environment’ Mette Knudsen, H.E Ambassador of Denmark to Kenya speaking during the closing ceremony of the course.

‘A safe and happy child is a bright future for all and a moral obligation for us to protect children’ Ms Knudsen says.

Article by Evelyn Namvua, Knowledge Management Coordinator, Save the Children ESARO

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Guidelines on effective re-integration of children and their families

guidelines-on-childrens-reintegration-digital-_page_01The guidelines developed by the inter-agency group on children’s reintegration 2016 provide a framework for anyone seeking to ensure family care for children.

‘Children outside of family care face significant disadvantages; they may experience developmental impairments and lasting psychological harm, be less likely to attend or do well in school and be cut off from the social networks they need to flourish in adulthood.

‘Global trends associated with child separation, including poverty, conflict and mass migration are separating children in every region, making these Guidelines broadly relevant. Being cut off from life in a family not only violates children’s rights, it also weakens society as a whole. If child separation is not addressed effectively, it undermines achievement of national development targets – from education to growth.

‘These Guidelines build upon a solid evidence base, developed through extensive desk-based research which explored good practice in the reintegration of separated children in emergencies, former child soldiers, street children, institutionalised children, migrant children, and children who have been trafficked. They offer a valuable tool for policy makers, program designers, and practitioners, and provide a vital road map for reintegrating children.

Download the guidelines here

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Eastern African Standby Force integrated mission planning course provide child protection accountability opportunities in peace building

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Participants at the integrated mission planning course (photo credit: IPSTC)

Save the children has for the past three years worked towards harmonizing approaches and standardizing child protection training in Peace Support Operations (PSO), through partnerships with Eastern African Standby Force (EASF) and Training Centres Excellence. The Eastern African Standby Force is one of the five African Union regional standby forces established as part of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA). The EASF, attained its full operational capability in 2015, implying its readiness to effectively respond to crisis within Eastern Africa and across the continent.

In line with its operational functions, the EASF needs a functional planning capability. The planning staff are drawn from the three components (civilian, police and military) of the multi-dimensional peace support operations. Therefore, integration is a key guiding principle for planning, design and execution of actions plans in conflict situations. It links the various components (political development, humanitarian, human rights, rule of law, social and security) and integrates the imperatives of each into the mission strategic thinking and design.

As part of the broader peace building strategy prior to the establishment of a peace building mission, an integrated mission planning process is designed to facilitate achievement of this common understanding by engaging the capacities of all relevant stakeholders to achieving impact in a given country setting. This ensures that the right people are at the table, that the right issues are being considered, and that the appropriate authorities and accountabilities are in place to motivate flexible, creative, and integrated strategic and operational thinking and planning. Through the process, the technical and operational mission staff promote synergies, monitoring of progress, and adjustments to optimize impact.

EASF successfully conducted an Integrated Mission Planning (IMP) Course from 1-12 August 2016 at the International Peace Support Training Center (IPSTC) in Karen, Nairobi. The purpose of the course was to train nominated individuals pledged to the EASF Roster by Member States as potential staff for an EASF Mission Headquarters. The course largely covered the context of contemporary African Union Peace Support Operations (PSO), the AU Mandating process at strategic level, development of an Integrated Mission Plan and associated tools and techniques.

The skills gained during the course would prepare the participants to assume their assigned roles with an AU Mission Headquarters’ construct.

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Anthony Ombara (center) receiving the course completion certificate (photo credit: IPSTC)

The course offered great learnings and opportunities to influence and embed child protection as a key planning priority for execution during assigned missions. It provided experience and insights on the mandates of different components during integrated mission planning incorporating gender, child protection and other cross-cutting issues in the planning process.

Anthony Ombara, Save the Children, Regional Project Coordinator, Child Protection in PSO  participated at the training.

Article contributed by Anthony Ombara (anthony(dot)ombara@savethechildern.org)

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African Union Commission Conducts the Civilians’ Foundation Course

African Union Commission Civilians’ Foundation Course, Harare, Zimbabwe, 25-30 July 2016Over the last three years, Save the Children has been collaborating with the African Union Peace Support Operations Division (AUPSO) and the Regional Standby Forces specifically focusing on strengthening child rights and child protection in peace support operations. This has included the development and adoption of a Child Protection Training Package for use by the Regional Standby Forces, the Regional Peacekeeping Training Centres and the Troop Contributing Countries. Save the Children has also been advocating for the improvement of the capacity building and rostering initiatives mainly to ensure that AU Mandated or Authorised Missions have the right capacities deployed to serve. The AU Commission has taken a bold step by setting up the African Standby Capacity Roster for civilians to support the setting up and execution of missions.

To kick-off this major milestone, the AU Commission jointly with all the Regional Standby Forces invited civilians drawn from UN Missions and INGOs to attend the Inaugural Civilian Foundation Course under the Africa Standby Capacity platform. The training was held at the SADC Regional Peacekeeping Training Centre in Harare, Zimbabwe from the 25th to 30th of July 2016.

The objectives of the training were to:

  • Provide orientation on basic and foundational AU PSO issues to prepare rostered personnel to effectively contribute to mandate implementation when deployed into ASF/AU PSO
  • Establish a link between the African Standby Capacity (ASC) roster selection process and skills enhancement of rostered personnel for rapid deployment
  • Ensure each Planning Element (PLANELM) has minimum of five (5) experienced and trained civilian personnel on their roster to facilitate deployment of minimum 30 critical civilian staff for future mission start-up
  • Confirm the key AU messages and focus of the ASF Harmonised Civilian Foundation Course Standards focus, building on the experiences of the Training Institutions that have piloted these standards

The training also provided a rich forum for the AU Commission and the participants to have reflections and lessons on the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

Save the Children was represented by Anthony Njoroge, Senior Programme Manager – Children and Armed Conflict and Humanitarian. The step taken by the AU Commission and the Regional Standby Forces to set up the Pan-African Roster is a significant milestone as it demonstrates the commitment the institutions are making on having the right people with the right capacities deployed in missions which in-turn will result in quality delivery of services for children and also their protection. Save the Children will continue to support the rolling out of the Training Management System (Amani) which will complement the rostering process at the Training Centres, Troop Contributing Countries and the regional Standby Forces.

Article contributed by Anthony Njoroge, Senior Programme Manager – Children and Armed Conflict and Humanitarian

 

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Born with a bright and positive start, facing a gloomy future: We must promote equity

UNICEF_SOWC_2016_Page_001‘An infant deprived of post-natal care may not survive her first days.

‘A child deprived of immunization or safe water may not live to see his fifth birthday, or
may live a life of diminished health.

‘A child deprived of adequate nutrition may never reach his full physical or cognitive potential, limiting his ability to learn and earn.

‘A child deprived of quality education may never gain the skills she needs to succeed someday in the workplace or send her own children to school.

‘And a child deprived of protection – from conflict, violence or abuse, from exploitation
and discrimination, from child labour, or early marriage and motherhood – may be
physically and emotionally scarred for life, with profound consequences.

‘A right to a healthy start in life, an education and a safe, secure childhood – all the basic opportunities that translate into a productive and prosperous adulthood is what Every child is born with and at the same time denied. The State of the World’s Children 2016 report argues, promoting equity is more than a moral obligation. It is both a practical and a strategic imperative, helping to break inter-generational cycles of disadvantage and thus reducing the inequalities that undermine all societies.

‘Conflict has immediate and often life-threatening effects on children. It also holds back the development of the education systems that should be functioning to help them reach their full potential.

‘The report’s call to action is, therefore, motivated by a sense of urgency and the conviction that a different outcome, and a better world, are possible. Children born into poverty and deprivation are not doomed to live lives of despair. Inequity is not inevitable, if governments invest in expanding opportunity for every child– shifting policies, programming and public spending priorities so the most disadvantaged have a chance to catch up with the most advantaged.

Access the full report from the UNICEF website here:The State of the World’s Children 2016: A fair chance for every child

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Day of the African child: Protecting children’s rights in conflicts and crisis in Africa

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Niger girl (photo credit: ILRI/Stevie Mann).

‘With forty per cent of Africans aged 14 or younger, Africa is officially the fastest growing continent in the world.  Sadly, it is also the most conflict-prone region with three out of 10 African children living in fragile, conflict-affected regions or countries, and an estimated 12 million children internally displaced throughout the continent.

‘In South Sudan alone, 750,000 children were internally displaced, 320,000 registered as child refugees, hundreds were killed, and more than 12,000 recruited and used by the government and opposition forces as child soldiers in armed conflict during 2014.

“The trauma associated with witnessing acts of violence can have lifelong consequences, especially in the prevailing absence of psychological care. Family separation is rife which only exacerbates rights violations for children concerned,” says David Wright, Save the Children’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa

‘The theme of this year’s ‘Day of the African Child’, marked every June 16, is Conflict and Crisis in Africa: Protecting all children’s rights, with the plight of African children in conflict situations characterised by six grave child rights violations: recruitment into armed forces; killing and maiming; sexual and gender-based violence; attacks against schools or hospitals; abduction; and denial of humanitarian access.

‘Despite strong international, regional, and domestic legal frameworks protecting children during armed conflicts, a recent study by the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) found that there is inadequate political commitment to effectively protect children from conflict and crises.  It also noted weaknesses in existing laws and implementation of them, as well as the non-ratification of international laws in some instance.

“Inter-governmental bodies should invest in early warning systems and put in place measures to safeguard child–focused resources and expenditure in times of crisis, including through regional cooperation,” says Wright.

Read the entire press statement by Save the Children: Protecting children’s rights in conflicts and crisis in Africa, 15 June 2016

 

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The Secretary General report reveals increasing severity of the grave violations committed in 2015

 

Child Protection Training of Trainers for Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF)

Child protection training of trainers course for Uganda People’s Defence Force, 2016 (credit: save the children).

 

The children and armed conflict report of the Secretary General covering the period from January to December 2015 was submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 2225 (2015).

The report outlines

  • Recent global trends regarding the impact of armed conflict on children and provides information on grave violations committed against children in 2015
  • Main activities with regard to the implementation of relevant Council resolutions and the conclusions of the Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict
  • List of parties that engage in the recruitment and use of children, sexual violence against children, the killing and maiming of children, attacks on schools and/or hospitals and attacks or threats of attacks against protected personnel,1 and the abduction of children.

‘The impact on children of our collective failure to prevent and end conflict is severe, and the present report highlights the increased intensity of grave violations in a number of situations of armed conflict. Those violations are directly related to the denigration of the respect for international humanitarian and human rights law by parties to conflict. Continue reading

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Save the Children’s child protection training aired on Uganda’s TV station

Watch this 2 minutes videos on the child protection training of trainers held on 25 April – 6 May 2016 in Jinja Uganda. The training aimed at enhancing the knowledge and skills of the Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) on child protection and child rights before, during and after peace support operations.

Click here to watch the video on youtube: UPDF child protection training

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