Children in armed conflict, Every Last Child

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Photo credit: Save the Children

Today, 26 April 2016, Save the Children is launching its global campaign ‘Every last Child’. The global launch will build a national and international dialogue on the most excluded children through a series of national advocacy, mobilisation and child led campaign activities.

‘Among the objectives of the launch is to reposition Save the Children as the organization that will do whatever it takes to save the world’s most vulnerable children and introducing the public to the Every Last Child campaign.

What does this campaign mean for war affected children?

The world is currently facing numerous conflicts. Many innocent children are victims of these conflicts facing serious negative war effects. The effects include, family separations, disruption of education, sexual exploitation and rape, recruitment as child soldiers, physical injuries, emotional turmoil among many others.

War affected children contribute to a huge population of vulnerable children, these children have a myriad of needs that certainly require the global attention.

Save the Children, through training of peace support operations personnel who include, police, military and the civilian, in child protection is working to ensure that children are protected before, during and after conflict. These trainings aim to ensure that these actors have the necessary capacity in terms of knowledge and skills to respond to issues of child protection enabling them to handle children with care and efficiency.

Through the project, ‘Strengthening Child Protection in African Union Peace Support Operations in East and West Africa’, Save the Children has developed a training curriculum on child protection with the aim of operationalizing it within the African Standby Force. This process will see the peace supports operations personnel undergo a standardized and mandatory pre-deployment training.

Child protection training of trainers for military personnel

From 25 April – 6 May 2016, the project will be conducting a training of trainers for the Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) in Jinja, Uganda. The military is central to child protection, how the military treats and responds to children they encounter during the mission has the capacity to impact the entire lifetime of the child, for the good or for the bad. Besides equipping the trainees with the capacity to transfer knowledge and skills to other military personnel on child rights and child protection, the training aims to encourage UPDF to adopt the training manual for its future trainings and needs.

By ensuring that the military, police and civilian have the rights capacity to handle children in conflict situation, we are ensuring that the needs of these vulnerable children are addressed and respected. By operationalization of the training curriculum within the African Standy Force, we will be ensuring that responses are done in a more harmonized and coordinated manner reaching out to more children and achieving greater impact.

Children affected by conflict require everybody’s attention, we need to ensure that their needs are high on the agenda of all key stakeholders. In the midst of armed conflict and peace restoration, these vulnerable children need a chance to survive, learn and be protected.

‘We are doing whatever it takes to reach the world’s most excluded children. With your help we can get the world to put excluded children first and tackle the barriers that prevent them from surviving, learning and being protected. We won’t stop until every last child survives and fulfils their potential. Save the Children

Visit the campaign website for more information: https://campaigns.savethechildren.net/

 Article by Evelyn Namvua, knowledge management coordinator, Save the Children East and Southern Africa regional office

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A call for end term and training evaluations for the peace support operations project

End-Term Evaluation for the Project, Strengthening Child Protection in African Union Peace Support Operation
The purpose of the Evaluation is to draw credible and useful information on the performance and challenges of the project, lessons learnt and recommendations that would useful for the African Union Peace and Security Department, Regional mechanisms and missions,Training Centres of Excellences and the project team especially in the design and delivery of interventions for Phase II of the project.

Specific objectives of the evaluation
Evaluation will have three specific objectives:

  1. To assess the extent to which the project achieved its set purpose and objectives.
  2. To explore and document lessons learnt and opportunities drawn from the project design, management and implementation.
  3. To examine and recommend opportunities in the project design, scope, strategy and implementation for future scaling-up.

Click here to view the full details of the call. Deadline 22 April 2016

Training Evaluation for the Project, Strengthening Child Protection in African Union Peace Support Operation
The general purpose of the training evaluation is to identify the gaps and strengthen the
evidence base for future programming. Specifically, it will review the training and capacity
building component of the project as detailed below:

Specific objectives of the evaluation

  1. Assess the level in knowledge and skills of the participants towards protection of
    children and armed conflict.
  2. Assess the training model and delivery mechanism d 9and make recommendations for strengthening its design, delivery, monitoring and evaluation (including materials,
    methodologies, indicators and logistics).

Click here to view the full details of the call. Deadline 22 April 2016

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Why stakeholders need to standardize and institutionalize child protection training

In Africa and as in the rest of the world where conflict is prevalent, children suffer greatly due to the effects of wars. They are injured, abused, used as child soldiers, killed, among other injustices. Save the Children through the Strengthening Child Protection in African Union Peace Support Operations in East and West Africa project, has been working to ensure that children are protected during such trying and difficult situations. The project is working to standardize and institutionalize mandatory child protection training for the African Standby Force to ensure that child protection and rights are put at the forefront before, during and after conflict.

Watch this insightful YouTube video showing how the project is making progress in entrenching child protection within the African Standby Force. The video was captured at the workshop to review and validate the child protection training toolkit in Accra on  22-26 February 2016.

 

Click here to watch the video on youtube

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New video on the child protection knowledge and learning event

On 7-9 December 2015, in Dakar Senegal, Save the Children through the project, Strengthening Child Protection in African Union Peace Support Operations in East and West Africa organized a knowledge and learning event. Watch the below YouTube video about the event with key messages from the participants on various issues about child protection in conflict situations.

Full event video – French version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bPRivBxEsQ
Participants short interviews: https://vimeo.com/album/3875708

The workshop report which summarizes the discussions of the knowledge and learning event is also available here. It highlights areas that were noted to be of priority in peace support operations, these include: Peace support operations training, Child protection mainstreaming, Cost of conflict on children, Developing and enhancing collaboration and Advocacy of child protection in conflict situations.

Related posts: Knowledge and learning event identifies priority areas for child protection in Peace Support Operations

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Stakeholders meet to validate the child protection training toolkit

Strengthening Child Protection in AU Peace Support Operations Workshop; 22-26th Feb. 2016 Accra, Ghana

The peace support operations in East and West Africa project yet again stands an opportunity to achieve a new milestone on the journey that Save the Children has been walking together with partners. Eva Molt, Area Director for Africa, Save the Children Sweden

Since 2012 Save the Children through the project, ‘Strengthening Child Protection in African Union Peace Support Operations in East and West Africa’, the International Bureau for Children’s Rights (IBCR), key stakeholders in East and West Africa, including the Economic Community of West African States Standby Force (ECOWAS-SF), the Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF), Training Centres of Excellence (TCEs) and national armed forces have been in consultations developing a child protection training toolkit. The toolkit aims to ensure that child protection is incorporated as part of the mandatory trainings that peace support operations personnel undergo before being deployed. It has been reviewed and piloted in two TCEs namely, the Ecole de Maintien de la Paix/Peacekeeping School in Mali and the Rwanda Peace Academy, and in three troop contributing countries namely, Senegal, Mali and Cote D’ivoire.

The African Peace Support Trainers Association (APSTA) through a memorandum of understanding with the African Union (AU) is mandated to coordinate harmonization and standardization of the training courses, materials and curriculum within the continent. In recognition of the central role that APSTA plays within the content, on 22-26 February 2016, Save the Children together with APSTA organized a workshop to review and validate the child protection training toolkit and present it to the AU for endorsement. The workshop was hosted by the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), in Accra, Ghana.

The workshop was attended by participants from the AU Commission, EASF Coordination Mechanism, ECOWA-SF, member states, training institutions and child protection experts from Save the Children who appreciated efforts that have gone in the development of the toolkit.

The workshop participants had the following remarks:

Child protection is critical

Children suffer the most in times of conflict and they must be given special care. Anthony Ombara, Regional Child protection Coordinator. Save the Children International ESARO

Children are a vulnerable population and their needs and situations especially in conflict areas can easily overtaken by the events that area happening. Rebecca Theuri, Child Protection Programme Officer, Save the Children International ESARO

Key thing to reflect about is the realization by member states that child protection is an essential part in peace operations across Africa. Ben Aliwa, Director Regional and Multi Country Programme Unit (RMCPU), Save the Children International ESARO

Impact of child protection trainings

Over the last two years we at the African Union Mission In Somalia (AMISOM) have been able to ensure that child protection is integrated in pre-deployment training, further mandatory in mission child protection trainings have also been integrated for all peacekeepers deployed in the mission. Musa Gbow, Child Protection Advisor, AMISOM

Through our collaboration with Save the Children, at the Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF) we strive to ensure that peace support operations personnel (police, military and civilian) who are about to be deployed go through the child protection course as children are normally encountered during conflict. Joshua Karianjahi, Rostering & Coordination Officer EASF

Child protection training complements military activities and enable actors to become more aware of the vulnerability of children and the impact of conflict on children. Musa Gbow, Child Protection Advisor, AMISOM

ECOWAS Standy Force carries out integrated training which incorporates the police, military and civilian. Once trained we expect them to handle children differently and with the best form of professionalism. Danjuma Aku, Rostering & Training Officer, ECOWAS

Training harmonization

Africa still has many conflicts implying that there are many missions for peace keepers and thus the need to better coordinate mission efforts by having the right knowledge, skills and competencies to handle children. Anthony Njoroge, Senior Programme Manager, Save the Children International ESARO

The proposed training harmonization by the African Union will enable troop contributing countries of EASF and ECOWAS to have a standardized training curriculum that focus on children in armed force. Col Charles Wacha, Director, Human Rights Affairs UPDF

Standardization and harmonization is key to ensure that all peace keeping personnel are talking and operating as one. Issa Bagayoko, Instructor, Ecole de Maintien de la Paix

We have one Africa Standby Force and therefore need for us to train in one doctrine, apply common policies and establish common stands for effective operation. Col Festus B Aboagye (Rtd), APSTA

Strengthening child protection structures

The training and rostering management system that we are developing will facilitate proper documentation of our work and information sharing among stakeholders. Evelyn Namvua, Knowledge Management Coordinator, Save the Children International ESARO

Working together with the Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms is key to strengthening child protection structures by ensuring that child protection is considered within the peace and security agenda in the region. Eva Molt, Area Director for Africa, Save the Children Sweden

The AU which is central to the agenda together with the regional mechanism and their commitment to this work provides a great advantage to bridge the gap between policy and practice. Ben Aliwa, Director Regional and Multi Country Programme Unit (RMCPU), Save the Children International ESARO

 

 

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Knowledge and learning event identifies priority areas for child protection in Peace Support Operations

Child Protection in African Union Peace Support Operations Knowledge and Learning, 7-9 December 2015, Dakar, Senegal

Save the Children, through the project ‘Strengthening Child Protection in Africa Union Peace Support Operations in East and West Africa’ on 7-9 December held a knowledge and learning event in Dakar. The recognition of the importance of sharing knowledge, exchanging best practices and learning within the multi-dimensional facets of child protection in peace support operations (PSO) was the impetus for organizing the event. In attendance were stakeholders working in the government, humanitarian and Non-Governmental Organizations (such as World Vision, Africawide Movement for Children, International Organization for Migration), peace-keeping training centers (such as the Kofi Annan International PeaceKeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC)), the African Union Peace and Security Department, the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom), the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), Inter- Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), PSO personnel (military and civilian) among other.

The event provided an excellent opportunity to share information on research, current issues and best practices on child protection in conflict situations; reflect on the impact of the child protection training, explore opportunities and challenges while showcasing new ideas and trends in training; create an opportunity for the development of communities of practice, and enhance communications and knowledge sharing among peace support operation actors.

Participants deliberated on and identified priority areas that would significantly contribute to child protection in conflict situation and those requiring greater focus from all actors. Inspiring stories and practical experiences on the use of skills and knowledge acquired from peace support operations training in regard to military interaction with children during peace keeping missions were shared. The participants emphasized the need to review PSO training curriculum to address the ever changing nature of conflict and the significance of focusing on children. They also proposed the need to harmonize and standardize PSO training curriculum and develop clear mechanism to ensure accountability by the mission staff.

Child protection mainstreaming plays an important role in ensuring that actors are sensitive and adhere to good child protection standards. The development of the child protection standard operation procedures within the Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) and the establishment of a child protection unit within the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) have provided levels of accountability to child protection issues in both institutions. Child protection mainstreaming is important in ensuring that actors strive to make deliberate efforts such as capacity building that would enhance their operations. In order to strengthen reporting on the grave violations, accountability measures are key coupled with proper child protection mainstreaming measures.

Moreover, the cost of conflict on children was recognized as an important area of focus by the participants. As such, state parties, the international, regional and local communities should ensure that investment in child protection systems before, during and after conflict is adequately done. The importance of engaging with children so as to understand the impact of conflict on their lives, and more so meaningfully involve them at all phases of the project so as to have them as partners in arriving at sustainable solutions to the challenges that they face was also identified.

Child protection in conflict areas calls for inter-agency and multi-stakeholder engagement. However, the linkages among various actors has been weak necessitating an urgency to develop relationships, strengthen synergies and break the perception barriers that has affected interaction amongst various actors. Consequently, there is an overarching need for mechanism that would promote timely communication, collaboration and learning through information sharing and knowledge management platforms. Additionally, the African Union protection of children in armed conflict strategy provides a perfect and timely backdrop for aligning interventions by the various actors for regional integration and sustainable impact that can be scaled out. As such, stakeholders’ interventions and key issues need to be well packaged and articulated in advocating for child protection policy formulation.

Find out more information about the event below:

 

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Training and workshop to harmonize and standardize child protection in African Union Peace Support Operations

Training of Trainers Child Protection course held at the Rwanda Peace Academy (RPA), 28 October – 9 November 2015

In collaboration with Save the Children, Secretariat of the African Peace Support Trainers Association (APSTA) is organizing the Training and Workshop on Strengthening Child Protection (CP) in AU Peace Support Operations (PSOs), and for the African Standby Force (ASF) and other African-led Peace Support Operations (PSO). The workshop will be hosted by the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), in Accra, Ghana, from 22-26 February 2016.

The training and workshop forms part of the support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, for Save the Children to implement a project to strengthen child protection in African Union Peace Support Operations in Eastern and West Africa. The project has a specific purpose to facilitate the inclusion of standardized and mandatory child rights and child protection pre-deployment training for contributing troops and equip them with the skills and knowledge to prevent and respond to violence against children during and after conflict, as part of the full operationalization of the African Standby Force (ASF).

The main purpose of the workshop is to harmonize and standardize child protection (CP) training delivered by the RECs/RMs, AU Member States and member institutions of the Association for ASF and other African-led PSOs.

The main objectives of the CP training harmonization and standardization workshop are to:

  • Review and validate CP training curricula developed by Save the Children, in consultation with the RECs/RMs, Member States and APSTA member institutions.
  • Update, harmonize and standardize the content of CP training relating to AU/UN missions, the ASF and other African-led missions.
  • Develop a roll out plan for the CP knowledge management system with the RECs/RMs, Member States and APSTA member institutions for AU PSOs, ASF and other African-led missions.

 

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Community-based, collective, and comprehensive support of formerly recruited young people required

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‘This study aimed to evaluate the potential contribution of informal community initiatives and formal interventions in support of former child soldiers’ resilience in the wake of armed conflict.

‘Using a cross-sectional survey design, a stratified random sample of 330 formerly recruited and 677 nonrecruited young people was consulted about their perspective on desirable support for former child soldiers provided by close support figures, communities, humanitarian organizations, and governments.

‘The results indicated that formerly recruited and non-recruited participants had comparable perspectives that call for the contribution of various informal and formal support systems to former child soldiers’ human capacities and the communal sociocultural fabric of war-affected societies.

‘This highlights the importance of community-based, collective, and comprehensive support of formerly recruited young people and their surroundings in the aftermath of armed conflict.

Download the whole article by Vindevogel, S., Wessells, M., De Schryver, M., Broekaert E. and Derluyn I.here: Informal and Formal Supports for Former Child Soldiers in Northern Uganda

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Dealing and responding to child protection issues: The military experience

Major Olivia KomutegekiThe rich exchange of information, experiences and best practices, reflections on learning and generation of solutions to challenges facing child protection in peace support operations were the key highlights of the 3 day child protection in peace supports operations knowledge and learning event that was held in Dakar, Senegal on 7-9 December 2015.

The event was attended by different actors in child protection ranging from peace support operations personnel (military and civilian); Humanitarian organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations; peacekeeping training centres and UN missions; the African Union, the Regional Economic Committee (RECs) and Regional Mechanisms; Government and other stakeholders.

Experiences from the military personnel
While reviewing  issues, challenges and opportunities in child protection, it was evident from the presentations made by the military personnel that the military is becoming more and more sensitive to child protection issues. Presentations from the Forces Républicaines de Côte d’Ivoire (FRCI) and the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) highlighted the road map that these institutions have gone through from being listed as using children in battles to being de-listed, and the successes they have recorded while on missions as a result of the skills and knowledge gained from child protection and other related trainings.

Below are excerpts from the presentations

Major Olivia Komutegeki, Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF)

  • Uganda is a signatory of UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) that prohibits use of children in armed conflict, Regional (African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child), National (Uganda Constitution 1995), Children’s Act, Penal Code Act and the UPDF Code of Conduct
  • UN Security Council declared Uganda security forces free of children on 15 Sep 2009 (S/2009/462)
  • When encountering children who are not only used as fighters but also as shields, UPDF has had to disengage the fight for another opportunist time or tactically fought to rescue the children other than win the fight
  • UPDF issued guidelines and trained the military on how to handle children rescued
  • All through the many wars and battles the UPDF has undergone, there are children in cross fire, in camps, separated from families etc. who are in combat or with enemies, the UPDF has provided medicare and facilitated humanitarian assistance to ensure the children have a decent livelihood.

Lieutenant Berthé Nanourou, Forces Républicaines de Côte d’Ivoire (FRCI)
When the war broke out in 2002, Ivory Coast was put in the list of countries using children in armed conflict. Through the collaboration with organizations such as UNICEF and Save the Children, the country has been able to significantly reduce the number of children from the front lines of the battles.

Child protection activities and results achieved:

  • 2001 -2010: Training of 64 military in Early Childhood Development (ECD)
  • 2014: Training of 30 pilot trainers in Early Childhood Development Office Management Plan
  • 2010 and 2015: 98 awareness sessions, and advocacy for over 20 000 soldiers and 47 commanders unit
  • Military project 2015-2016: Integration of Early Childhood Development in the military training curricula

Children associated with armed groups:

  • 2002: more than 35,000 children were associated with armed groups
  • April 2004: more than 25,000 children in transit centers
  • 2005: 4000 associated children joined the GA. Côte d’Ivoire is on the “list of shame”
  • 2008: Côte d’Ivoire is written off the list
  • 2010: seven children associated Armed Groups involved in the post-election crisis

Challenges:

  • Insufficient financial resources allocated to ECD promotional activities in the states
  • Lack of harmonization of teaching modules for ECD programs and assessment tools in place
  • No exchange of experience and good practice between actors
  • Absence of sustainability of ECD policy promotion programs in the armies of states

Opportunities for better protection of children in conflict:

  • Having qualified trainers in sufficient numbers in military units
  • Harmonize awareness modules and ECD training
  • Establish evaluation of ECD programs promoting tools
  • Establish a mechanism to fight against impunity for violations of children’s rights
  • Establish a framework for the exchange of permanent experience and good practice between child protection actors

View presentation: DEFIS ET OPPORTUNITES LIES A LA PROTECTION DE L’ENFANT

The event was organized by Save the Children through the Strengthening Child Protection in Africa Union Peace Support Operations in East and West Africa project.

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Sharing experiences, challenges and opportunities of child protection in peace support operations: Knowledge and learning event

Starting this week from 7-9 December 2015, about 45 participants working in peace support operations in various organizations in East and West Africa are scheduled to meet in Dakar, Senegal for the Child Protection in Africa Union Peace Support Operations Knowledge and Learning Event.

Child protection is a shared responsibility that requires the coordination of many actors. These actors range from:

  • Peace support operations personnel (military, police and civilian)
  • Humanitarian organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations
  • Peacekeeping training centres and UN Missions
  • The African Union, the Regional Economic Committee (RECs) and Regional Mechanisms,
  • Government
  • Local community
  • Other stakeholders

It is in line with this multi-dimensional nature of peace support operations that representatives from the above sectors will seek to share, inform and exchange experiences and lessons on pertinent issues that they face in their every duties.

Specific objectives of the event will be to:

  1. Share and discuss information on research, current issues and best practices on child protection
  2. Review child protection training impact, opportunities and challenges while showcasing new ideas and trends in training
  3. Build capacity of participants around various child protection in peace support operations issues
  4. Create an opportunity for the development of communities of practice and enhance communications and knowledge sharing amongst Peace Support Operation actors.

Among the topics that will be discussed at the event include: A look at South Sudan – case study on Family Tracing and Reunification (FTR) and Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM); Child protection training’s and approaches – case studies from various organizations; Child protection and legal issues; Impact of child protection courses – experiences and lessons from trained military personnel; Experiences with children and armed conflict; Experiences on the establishment of the child protection unit at the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF), among others.

More details about the event including the session speakers can be found here: Child Protection in AU Peace Support Operations Knowledge and Learning Event

 

 

 

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