Sub-Saharan Africa

Reaching for Home: Global Learning on Family Reintegration in Low and Lower-Middle Income Countries

Posted By: • January 19th, 2016

This inter-agency, desk-based research aims to arrive at a clearer understanding of reintegration practices for separated children in low and lower-middle income countries. The research pulls together learning from practitioners and academics working with a range of separated children, such as those torn from their families by emergencies, children who have been trafficked or migrated for work, and children living in institutions or on the streets. Practitioners and researchers who work with these different population groups are for the most part unaware of the approaches and methods used in other areas of child protection, and this research aims to consolidate experience and create opportunities for dialogue and shared learning. The findings are based on an in-depth review of 77 documents, a short online survey involving 31 practitioners and policy makers, and key informant interviews with 19 individuals with expertise in children’s reintegration. Read More

Child Soldiers in Sierra Leone: Experiences, Implications and Strategies for Rehabilitation and Community Reintegration

Posted By: • December 2nd, 2015

The issue of child soldiers has become an increasing global concern. More than 300,000 soldiers under the age of 18 are fighting in conflicts in 41 countries around the world. The problem has been particularly serious in Sierra Leone where thousands of children have participated directly in armed conflict or have been recruited for labour or sexual exploitation among armed groups. Despite international concern about children in armed conflict, minimal empirical research has been dedicated to this problem. To fill the research gaps, this study has traced the experiences and perspectives of former child soldiers in Sierra Leone and investigated the implications of their participation in armed conflict. The research findings will be used to enhance community based programs and policies for the rehabilitation and reintegration of former child soldiers into community life. Read More

The Recruitment and Use of Girls in Armed Forces and Groups in Angola: Implications for Ethical Research and Reintegration

Posted By: • December 2nd, 2015

The mission of the Ford Institute for Human Security is to conduct research that focuses on a series of transnational threats to the human rights of civilian populations. The Institute’s purpose is to generate independent research, disseminate policy papers, and advocate nonpartisan policy proposals available to both domestic and international policymakers. Read More

Qualitative Study of Child Marriage in Six Districts of Zambia

Posted By: • December 2nd, 2015

Zambia has one of the highest rates of female child marriage in Africa, with a reported national prevalence of 42%.1 A recognized dearth of comprehensive data on the practice led UNICEF to commission this study, which was overseen by a Technical Working Group, composed of representatives of government, multilateral, nongovernmental (NGOs) and civil society organizations. Its aim was not to acquire statistically significant data, but to focus on obtaining in-depth, qualitative information on the underlying social, cultural and economic factors that motivate and sustain the practice. Read More

Learning from Child Protection Systems Mapping and Analysis in West Africa: Research and Policy Implications

Posted By: • December 1st, 2015

This article presents the findings of a research process undertaken by Child Frontiers to map and assess the child protection systems of five West African countries. It highlights that the primary obstacle to the effective functioning of these systems is the lack of congruence between formal strategies, actual state capabilities and resources, and community values and priorities. The findings are discussed within the context of the emerging global debate about child pro- tection systems. The conclusions demonstrate that policy makers at national, regional and international levels should look beyond transplanting external models to the West African context, but rather adopt long-term processes to design systems that are culturally appropriate and operational within the boundaries of available and planned resources. Policy makers at all levels should avoid the temptation of ‘quick fixes’ but, in building and reforming child protection systems in West Africa and beyond, endeavour to promote sustained, government-led processes that redefine the core principles and foundations of the system. The outcome will be that child protection systems function in an optimal way for children and families. Read More

Bottom-up Approaches to Strengthening Child Protection Systems: Placing Children, Families, and Communities at the Center

Posted By: • December 1st, 2015

Efforts to strengthen national child protection systems have frequently taken a top- down approach of imposing formal, government-managed services. Such expert-driven approaches are often characterized by low use of formal services and the misalign- ment of the nonformal and formal aspects of the child protection system. This article examines an alternative approach of community-driven, bottom-up work that enables nonformal–formal collaboration and alignment, greater use of formal services, internally driven social change, and high levels of community ownership. The dominant approach of reliance on expert-driven Child Welfare Committees produces low levels of community ownership. Using an approach developed and tested in rural Sierra Leone, community- driven action, including collaboration and linkages with the formal system, promoted the use of formal services and achieved increased ownership, effectiveness, and sustainability of the system. The field needs less reliance on expert-driven approaches and much wider use of slower, community-driven, bottom-up approaches to child protection. Read More

A (Private) Public Space – Examining the Use and Impact of Digital and Social Media Among Adolescents in Kenya

Posted By: • December 1st, 2015

As a part of its Voices of Youth Citizens initiative (formerly Digital Citizenship and Safety), the Social and Civic Media Section of UNICEF commissioned InterMedia, along with its research partners, to conduct a study on the impact of digital technologies on young people. Specifically, the study focused on exploring how 152 children,1 12 to 17 years old, in Kenya, use social media and other digital technologies, and what impact these technologies have on this group, particularly from the perspective of child rights.2 The study involved holding digital youth clinics in four locations in Kenya, with children and young people who have access to mobile phones and the internet. It focused on understanding digital behavior, and perceptions of risk and safety among these active, young users of digital and social media. As this was primarily a qualitative study, the findings are not necessarily representative of Kenyan young people at large. Read More

Towards Making Psychosocial Rehabilitation a Reality: Meeting the Needs of Survivors of Gang Violence in Manenberg

Posted By: • December 1st, 2015

Upholding the rights of victims of gang violence, to victim rehabilitation (legal, social, medical and psychological), is a responsibility that both government and civil society are called upon to honour. During 2013 at the height of gang violence in Manenberg, the Trauma Centre, the Manenberg Development Co-ordinating Structure (MDCS) and the Western Cape Department of Social Development (WC DSD) partnered to provide victim rehabilitation services to the community. Read More