ChildHope was established in 1989 and their work supports children who are considered hardest to reach. They partner with organisations that have in-depth working knowledge of the local context and use their development expertise to help them to build new, sustainable and independent organisations that can be catalysts for lasting change.
Child Protection Alliance
The Child Protection Alliance was established in 2001 and is a coalition of over 50 organisations that promote child rights in Gambia. They were formed to create a coordinated approach to promoting and implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. At the time, there was little knowledge of child protection issues and the scale of child sexual abuse and youth exploitation was not well understood. The Alliance created the Voice of the Young, a forum for children to engage with the media, politicians and policymakers.
Glad’s House was founded in 2006 in response to the lack of services for the most vulnerable children. They work in Mombasa with children and young people up to 30 years old, who are deemed ‘too challenging’ by the rest of society. These include those living and working on the streets and on rubbish dumps and those in conflict with the law. Their goal is to ensure that children and young people will not be criminalised for being on the streets and that there will no longer be unlawful round-ups.
For over 20 years, PKL has been supporting street children and their families to escape extreme poverty and lead more fulfilling lives away from the streets and slums. They have developed a very successful rehabilitation programme that every year supports 100 girls to get away from the dumpsites and streets and into education. Their parents and siblings receive support too, so that the whole family is strengthened. They also run a justice programme for children in conflict with the law, strengthen partners’ capacity on child protection and are involved in child rights policy advocacy.
Elimu Mwangaza was established in 2014 and works in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania: an area with particularly high incidences of violence against children. They are working to end child abuse and violence and to support girls and boys to access quality education and child protection services. They have set up child rights clubs in primary schools, so children have a forum for discussing issues of sexual, physical and emotional violence. They are also providing training for parents and other adults in the community.
Street Child of Sierra Leone
Street Child of Sierra Leone works in the areas of education, child protection and livelihoods in every district of Sierra Leone. The organisation was founded during the 1990s, working with children directly affected by the country’s civil war, including former child soldiers. Since 2008, they have been working with international partners to expand the organisation’s child protection and education projects for street children, to build livelihoods programmes, and to improve the standard of education in remote rural areas of the country.
Voice of Children
Voice of Children has been working with children living and working on the streets of Nepal since 2000. They raise awareness of child abuse and provide legal, social and psychological support to children and their families. Voice of Children also works to prevent a further increase in the number of street children by working with vulnerable families living in urban areas and slums. These families are offered support to improve their life skills to save their children from ending up on the street.
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ChildHope - UK
ChildHope UK will be closing in December 2023 and will no-longer be part of the South2South Safeguarding Network. Leadership of the network has been successfully transferred to the other South2South Network partners with Michael Reuben from Elimu Mwangaza, Tanzania, currently taking the lead. You can contact either Michael Reuben or ChildHope UK concerning South2South Safeguarding Network until end December 2023 after which leadership will fully shift to South2South Network partners.
Child Protection Alliance - The Gambia
I am the National Coordinator of the Child Protection Alliance – The Gambia. Child Protection Alliance is an alliance of about 36 different Civil Society Organisations that work around issues of child rights promotion and protection. Our work focuses legal reforms through advocacy engagements with government ministries and departments to make sure they are fulfilling their obligations to respect, protect and fulfil rights of children. CPA over the years has established Community Child Protection Committees in almost all the communities that we work with throughout the Gambia, these structures serve as community watch dogs to report issues of child abuse. We also work with schools through the School Voice Clubs that we established. These are school based clubs where we encourage peer education among students so that they are able to understand their rights and talk to their peers about issues affecting them. Before the Alliance’s inception there hadn't been a common platform where people would come together to discuss issues of child rights.
In the Gambia, about 60% of the population is living in absolute poverty, and that threatens the communities’ abilities to fulfil the basic needs of their children. They don’t think about development; they are thinking of survival and, as a result of this, they subject these children to a lot of practices like begging, selling and taking odd jobs at an early age. That filters up to the government, where there has been a lack of investment in children and also the lack of enforcement of laws. One of the greatest things we have achieved through our advocacy issue over the years is to now have a specific ministry responsible for issues of children. The creation of the Ministry for Children and Women Affairs was greatly influenced by the Child Protection Alliance.
Keita Karamo Kebba
Associate Executive Director
I work as the Associate Executive Director and Project coordinator at the Institute for Social Reformation & Action. We support close to 4000 children in 50 facilities who are under the stewardship of the Marabouts, (teachers running traditional Islamic boarding schools called Majalis). Currently ISRA is the only NGO in the country that works directly with children in the traditional education system. We work with different partners, including the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, Departments of Social Welfare, Community Development, Health and livestock. We also work with UNICEF and other NGOs.
In each Majalis, we work with facilitators to deliver basic literacy and numeracy classes to children who may want to continue their education in conventional schools and provide a strong background in education and livelihood skills after leaving the Majalis. We work with the Marabout, parents and other caregivers to help them understand the importance of functional education since most of these children would stay in these facilities for a very long time. Currently there about 300 facilities with about 20,000 children who are not attending school. Some of these children are nationals of other countries.
ISRA also works to support the Marabouts and other caregivers to understand child protection and safeguarding issues while we support them to meet the child’s basic needs, including hygiene, water and sanitation, access to good nutrition, safe environment, housing and clothing. The Marabouts do not usually receive any payment from parents and caregivers, so these children often work on the farm to support and contribute towards their upkeep in the Majalis. We collaborate with the Department of Social Welfare and the Child Protection Alliance in all child protection related trainings and work closely with the Community Child Protection Committees (CCPCs) as a regulatory body against child abuse and neglect in selected communities.
Glad's House - Kenya
Head of Programmes
Glad’s House has been working in Mombasa since 2006, focusing mainly on helping street children and young adults. We run outreach programmes and we work in three prisons, two of which are juvenile, and one is for young adults. Alongside that we do advocacy.
My role is Head of Programmes and I’ve been with Glad’s House since its inception, so I’ve seen it grow and I’ve helped shape the vision of where we’d like to go. Being Head of Programmes gives me an opportunity to work with both the children and the staff. I’ll go into the field at least twice in a week. It gives me the opportunity to understand, other than just sitting in the office and reading the reports. I can observe any issues that are coming up, or new trends, and work with the field staff at a very close level.
For me, the best bit of work is seeing the small progress in a child. Working with street-connected children you don’t get a chance to see much progress in a year. You might have two, you might have three; these are the small, small progresses that are easily overlooked, but they mean a lot to the child, so they mean a lot to me as well.
The proud moments are many. But maintaining the relationship with the children on the streets for more than 10 years – for that I’m very proud. We’ve seen organisations coming and going and we’ve seen the children resisting them. We’ve also seen organisations being challenged by the government. But we have been establishing new and better relationships. We started working with children living and working in the streets and those in the community, then we moved to the juvenile prison and now we have been building networks both at the county and national level.
I am a social worker leading the Glad’s House team working in prisons. Before Glad’s House, I worked in different organisations supporting street-connected children. I’m proud of working with children for more than 10 years. I started working with children as a volunteer before doing my social work training.
At Glad’s House, we are advocating for the rights of children who are in prisons, remand homes and rehabilitation schools. The majority of these children are placed there under care and protection – very few have criminal backgrounds. We ensure their rights are upheld, wherever they are. We have several activities that we conduct in the prisons, including life skills sessions with the children, counselling sessions and providing basic care packs including toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and tissue paper.
Generally, the children and young adults in prisons have experienced traumas in their life and so the prisons are either understaffed or the staff are overwhelmed because they have limited skills and resources in working with them to counter this. We do different trainings, including child protection and safeguarding with the aim of building the capacity of prison staff and other Network members. Our hope is that this will give them confidence and encourage them to work with these children, to uphold their rights. The changes normally don’t come all at once, but gradually. We feel most success where we see improvements in areas we had previously had concerns about: where things had not before been good enough for the children.
I have become equipped with what it takes to influence people in the community, in the government and other people in small organisations working with children: to train them on areas of child protection and safeguarding so they can also be able to implement better ways of working and see the impact on the children they are working with.
Pendekezo Letu - Kenya
Communication and Advocacy Adviser
My role is Communication and Advocacy Adviser, which I have been doing since January 2019. My main work is developing stories for reporting and learning, and working with networks which promote policy change that supports children. Before this, I was the Senior Social Worker at Pendekezo Letu for five years. I conducted child protection training for staff and partners, developed training manuals for specific groups – including teachers, community groups, NGOs and children – and coordinated child rights awareness campaigns in the slum areas.
What is most rewarding about our work is when you take a child from the slums or from the street where they were being abused or were traumatised, taking them through rehabilitation and seeing the transformation in the child, and their family. I have seen a child I have recruited completing primary school and going into secondary school and seen their parents coming out of the dumpsite and starting a business of their own. What is unique about Pendekezo Letu is our holistic approach. When we support the child, that child acts as an entry point to the family, and by proxy even to the community for maximum change.
My vision for the rights of children, especially in Kenya, is to have a system that works. In our context the greatest challenge is lack of implementation of the laid-down policies. Kenya has one of the best child protection frameworks and policies, but they are rarely implemented. The contribution of Pendekezo Letu to the South2South Network is the fact that we have worked for a long time in the community and have used the community structures to really bring about change from the grassroots to the top. We know and understand that the children belong to the community, and child protection has to happen from the community up.
Elimu Mwangaza - Tanzania
Michael Reuben Ntibikema
Executive Director and Co-founder
I am the Executive Director and Co-founder of Elimu Mwangaza. We are improving the child protection situation in Tanzania by engaging direct with children, adults and the community and working with government departments. One of our priority areas is supporting other organisations to establish and strengthen their safeguarding policies and practices, because our experience indicates that the majority of organisations running programmes don’t have systems or the procedures in place to safeguard beneficiaries.
Before establishing the organisation, I first worked with the Network Against Female Genital Mutilation and with AMREF, the Africa Medical Research Foundation. I then worked with Mkombozi, an organisation that was dealing with the street-connected children, which managed a transition home for children working and living on the street. During this time a violence against children study was conducted in Tanzania, which found the situation of violence against children in the community is still severe.
We believed we could address this problem by joining forces with the government and establishing another organisation which supports children who have faced abuse and engages the communities to address issues of child abuse and vulnerability. This is how Elimu Mwangaza was founded. We do community outreach, broadcast a child protection radio programme and train other organisations.
There are very few organisations here that understand the importance of safeguarding policies. The concept of safeguarding is still new in Tanzania. Some organisations have policies because their donor has asked for them, but the rationale for having one is not clear to them. They put them on the shelf. There is much more work to do to promote understanding of child protection and safeguarding. It’s an opportunity for the South2South Network here in Tanzania and for us being able to learn from what’s going on around the world is very exciting.
Director of Programmes
I work as Director of Programmes at Elimu Mwangaza Tanzania. My roles are to direct and manage all aspects of Elimu Mwangaza’s services to children, schools, communities, and ward and village leaders, ensuring participation and protection and safeguarding of children are upheld. I also work as a Co-facilitator for training days.
Most of the communities lack awareness of child protection and safeguarding, but whenever we raise awareness they respond very well and we have seen changes. Children, teachers and parents are starting to report cases of abuse. Recently a sexual abuse case was reported to us through a teacher from one of the schools we are working with and the man who raped a child was sentenced to life imprisonment. The ward officers, the community officers and children are responding and they know where to go or who to talk to.
We are unique, because we work very closely with the government to have systems and the structures to protect children in the community and within the region. We have the skills of child protection, participation and safeguarding and work alongside the government to share these. What I enjoy about working with our partners is seeing children, staff and volunteers actively participating and contributing to different policies, guidelines and other existing structures within the organisation. I really enjoy helping organisations to see that child protection is not the matter of just talking about it, but also practising it and having in place all the policies they need.
The biggest challenge for us in Tanzania is for the government to budget or to allocate funds for child protection and safeguarding. We would like the social welfare systems and structures to be developed and social workers to be well trained and to have the resources they need. I want to see the country put enough budget into eliminating all forms of abuse, violence and exploitation against women and children, in collaboration with international and local organisations. That’s my vision.
Street Child of Sierra Leone - Sierra Leone
I am Co-founder of Street Child of Sierra Leone. Our key projects are around access to quality and affordable education for less privileged children, within which we look at ensuring that children learn under a safe environment and with appropriate teaching methodology. We also work with street-connected children, moving them from the streets into a safe environment, mainly within a context of families, and then into education. And we work around sustainable livelihood programmes as income poverty is a big factor for children dropping out of families and ending up on the street.
The thing I am most proud of is the culture of awareness we have created in communities about child rights issues. We’ve been able to influence remote communities, especially in northern Sierra Leone, where education was completely zero and the level of early child marriage was very, very high. We’ve made them aware of the value of education and the need to send children to school to the point that an area that had no school before, can now boast of over 30 primary schools.
The thing I love about our approach is that we do not only identify the issues that affect the welfare of children and impede their rights, but we recognise that we cannot solve them alone. Where we cannot influence as an organisation, we have the ability to collaborate with other players who can do it much better than ourselves.
In collaboration, we believe that other people come in with their own individual strength and that if we come together, we can make a bigger difference than if we work as individual organisations. That where Street Child hasn’t got the capacity, other organisations have. What we can do is provide the expertise around child safeguarding that other organisations within Sierra Leone are struggling with.
Head of Operations
I am the Head of Operations for Street Child Sierra Leone. The foundation for my work is my own background. I lost my father when I was just five years old. I became a street child and I struggled for two years on the streets. People gave me a helping hand and got me away from the streets and back into school. When I had the opportunity to volunteer for Street Child Sierra Leone ten years ago, I realised this was time to pay back, to give a helping hand to vulnerable children whose future is at stake. I found myself giving back what I was given years ago. I later became an employee.
My responsibility now is to support and coordinate the operations in Kenema, Kono and Kailahun. I monitor the implementation of a three-year DFID project, called Right to Learn. The main objective for the project is to identify children who have dropped out of junior school or didn't have the resources to move on to secondary school. If these children are willing to go back to school, the project will provide the support that is required to make that happen. Those who are in school but struggling and at risk of dropping out without some form of intervention are also supported by this project.
I would like to see every child that is struggling – on the streets or within the communities or in their own homes – being given hope as a result of the help from a safe adult who will make them believe that the current situation is not the end of the road. I want to see children have a voice and I want to see many hands come on board to make sure that every child that is struggling today is given hope.
Voice of Children - Nepal
I am Technical Advisor at Voice of Children and my day-to-day work is to support and monitor the implementation of projects activities. My other main responsibility is to provide child protection and safeguarding training to the staff members and review the training. At Voice of Children, we have a system to provide training to the staff when they are recruited and to review at least every six months. That is the system, and therefore I am responsible for the child protection and safeguarding.
I also facilitate training for other NGOs and the municipality government. We are the knowledge partner for CLAMP, a project addressing modern-day trafficking, which is run with ChildHope and a local NGO called Shakti Samuha. I am responsible for the project and I deliver child protection and safeguarding training to the CLAMP project staff. It is good to have a local expert lead on child protection issues because we know the local issues and culture of the community. For example, in the remote area of Nepal, where the CLAMP project is implemented, the area is very diverse with a lot of tradition in the community. Local people are more familiar with the context than the international consultant.
I have been working at Voice of Children for 19 years, starting as a social worker. When I started, awareness of child protection issues was very low; now there is huge awareness and the local authorities are allocated budget for child protection. The most significant change is the incorporation of child rights into the new constitution. But although we have good policies and good guidelines regarding the children, the implementation level is very weak, so our role is to advocate and raise the awareness for the implementation of the policies. Implementation is now our main challenge.
I am working as a Programme Coordinator in Voice of Children’s programme for street children. Different projects within this programme include prevention, rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration, so I am responsible for all these projects. We have a drop-in centre and socialisation centre. We rescue the children from vulnerable conditions in coordination with the authorities and we keep the children in our centres and work together with the family and the children to prepare them for reintegration into the family.
I am responsible for child protection and safeguarding in those centres and am also facilitator for the prevention of child sexual abuse training. Through the South2South consultancy we are able to increase our network with the people of UK and Africa and we are able to hear the experience of what is happening in different countries, and through that I am able to operate at a different level.
Most of the organisations who are working with the children have child protection policies, but they don’t always understand when they are preparing them what they are needed for. Through consultancy, we hope to work with them to review their policies and strengthen their capacity to know the importance of it. Things have come a long way because of the new constitution and Children’s Act. Voice of Children is working with the local level of government to influence the implementation of the Children’s Act. If we are able to implement it at a practical level, it will be a great achievement in child protection and safeguarding. It will be great achievement for me – for us.