ACERWC Conference on child rights in Africa: DCI – Sierra Leone’s contributions

On 20-21 November, the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) organised an international conference in Addis Ababa on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.

During the afternoon panel of the second day, Abdul Manaff Kemokai, Executive Director of Defence for Children International – Sierra Leone, presented a paper on “the Efficacy of Social Protection Programme in restoring the human rights of children affected by the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)”.

His presentation aimed to highlight the effects of EVD on children; to focus on human rights violations against children and their families during the crisis; and to provide evidence of how social protection can engender integration of EVD affected children, particularly orphans.

While the government of Sierra Leone focused extensively on hunting down the virus during the crisis, little attention was paid to the variety social issues that were created, in particular those affecting children.

Most interventions, made with the support of UNICEF and NGOs including Defence for Children International, Plan International, Save the Children and World Vision, addressed the immediate needs of affected children and their families but lacked long-term planning and perspectives. In this regard, and considering the difficult economic situation and poverty level in the country, it is paramount for the government and partners to invest in social protection as a key component of the EVD recovery plan. Social protection can address both the immediate and long term needs of vulnerable children and their families and enable children to access services such as education and health care. It can also contribute to the strengthening of child protection systems and enhancing policy reforms.

Read the full article presented at the ACERWC conference.

DCI – Sierra Leone’s interventions during the Ebola crisis

DCI-Sierra Leone played an active role from the start of the Ebola outbreak in the country. They monitored the wellbeing of children and provided face to face counselling to children who experienced considerable stress and trauma induced by the Ebola crisis. They also conducted various activities with communities, including healing and reconciliation ceremonies.

Related articles:

Floods in Sierra Leone: girls and young women raise serious concerns

A snapshot of success: Ebola, healing and reconciliation in Sierra Leone

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