Regional activities – Africa
Africa is a region where DCI operation remains very much needed as children and young people still face huge challenges in the enjoyment of their human rights. Many African governments are experiencing economic growth, yet, little of this growth is reflected in the daily lives of the majority of citizens. Thus, the operation of civil society organisations, such as DCI, is to carry out persistent advocacy with the aim to influence and improve the life of the people.
The DCI Movement is present through its national sections across the African continent and has a huge potential to grow further. Despite the geographical distance between these sections and cost implications for meetings to be arranged, there has been considerate regional integration and coordination among DCI sections in Africa, in particular:
- The Kampala Conference follow-up in collaboration with ACPF (the African Child Policy Forum), with focus on strengthening the role of the Guidelines on child-friendly justice within the work of the ACERWC (African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child);
- The Mano River Union (MRU), a sub-regional association established in 1973 between Liberia and Sierra Leone. In 1980 and 2008, Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire respectively joined the Union. The primary goal of the Union is to foster economic cooperation among the countries, but this has now been expanded to cover security and human rights including child protection. In 2013, DCI-Sierra Leone organised a Mano River Union meeting on child trafficking and the reintegration of unaccompanied children. The goal of the meeting was to establish understanding and agreement of cooperation among DCI-Sierra Leone, DCI-Liberia and Sabou (now DCI-Guinea), the West African Network on Child Protection, the Mano River Union Secretariat, UNICEF and youth groups from the three countries. The meeting discussed the issue of reintegration of unaccompanied children who find themselves without families and without legal citizenship.
- Sub-regional programme (West-Africa): The Girl Power Project – DCI-Sierra Leone, DCI-Ghana and DCI-Liberia are involved in a global Girl Power project that aims to provide equal opportunities for girls and young women. The project is implemented in ten countries and involves numerous NGOs. Within the project, thousands of girls and young women are provided support regarding the following: gaining access to justice when they are abused; participating in community programmes that affect them; as well as influencing policy and strengthening community-based child protection mechanisms.
A lot more needs to be done and the vice president will continue to explore possibilities for regional project funding that can provide capacity building opportunities for the sections as well as build strong partnerships and linkages among the sections for shared learning.