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Press Release: Securing a World of Climate Resilience, Prosperity and Peace. World leaders identify solutions and call for immediate action

World leaders identify solutions and call for immediate action
Hamburg / Cairo, 16.9.2019.

Press Release: Solutions for scaling up agroecology exist

Impactful policies empowering young people for a fair and sustainable future shortlisted for international award. Candidates come from Estonia, Europe, Nepal, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States.

FPA 2019: 67 policies from 36 countries for Future Policy Award received

67 policies from 36 countries contest for Future Policy Award received

Ghana on its way to its enhanced child protection system for survivors of child violence

For majority of children in Ghana, violence is an unfortunate part of their everyday life. According to official statistical reports, 9 out of 10 children are exposed to mental or physical violence, and physical punishment is a common phenomenon. More shocking are the figures for sexual violence: one out of five girls is sexually abused. There is an urgent need for action to protect children from violence! For girls and boys who experience and survive violence or abuse, a central, child-friendly centre providing the most essential services under one roof would be established from the first quarter of 2019, where trained personnel from the  Social Welfare, Domestic Violence Unit of the Police Service (DOVVSU) and Ghana Health Service are available to offer prompt, secured and confidential service to victims. Our team conducted a technical workshop with representatives of Ministries and other key stakeholders responsible for child protection in Ho, South-East Ghana together with experts from Zanzibar to discuss and develop a roadmap to establish a pilot in Accra. These are the main results at a glance.

Samia Kassid – opening remarks

In November 2017, the World Future Council Foundation invited political decision-makers from 12 African and Asian countries to Zanzibar to acquaint themselves with the country’s comprehensive Children’s Act and its implementation. Zanzibar won the Gold Award of the “Political Oscar” Future Policy Award in 2015.

The Ghanaian delegation, consisting of representatives from the Department of Children of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare and the Law Faculty of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration were inspired by the one-stop-center model that Zanzibar has currently implemented in 6 out of 11 districts.

 

 What is a one stop center?

One-Stop-Center (OSC) are central contact points for children and their families affected by (sexualised) violence. Here survivors can find psycho-social support, a police office to initiate criminal investigation as well as medical treatment including collection of forensic evidence under one roof. Ideally, legal help is part of the centre. The graphic illustrates the model:

As an important element of a strong national child protection system, the one-stop-centres provide survivors (girls and boys, women and men) with various initial services under one roof. As a result, the affected person does not have to go through the trauma of narrating the incident several times and also receives quick help. It helps parents stay focused on treating their child and persecuting the perpetrator. In cases without the OSC, survivors mostly have to visit different institutions – that costs money and time and often parents lose the momentum to persue the case. The later a case is reported, the harder it is to gather evidence of abuse on a child’s body.

Ideally, a one-stop center provides four services and is usually docted at a hospital:

  1. Psycho-social support – this is where the first interview takes place and the social worker decides which further steps are required. If there is an abuse / violence, the child will be escorted to the next room, where a police officer in civilian clothes and trained in child-friendly behaviour will fill in the form to follow up the case.
  2. Medical examination: in a third room, a medical doctor takes care of the child. Here the first medical and forensic examinations take place. If the child needs further special treatment, it will be treated immediately in the hospital.
  3. The employees of the one-stop-center are provided by the relevant ministries (Health, Interior, Family Affairs) and the Centre is (at best) coordinated by the Ministry of Health. All employees receive same training so they can better collaborate and follow same procedures and guidelines in writing the reports. This makes it easier for the police and the courts to track and prosecute cases.
  4. Support for counseling and legal aid is ideally offered in the fourth room.

 

Ghana on the way to pilot a one stop centre

A member of the Zanzibar team sharing her experience at the workshop

The Director of the Department of Children, speaking at Workshop

After intensive discussions with the Department of Children from April 2018, the World Future Council Foundation organised a technical workshop to fully introduce the state agencies in the establishment and management of a one-stop-center model in Ghana from the 25-27 November 2018. We invited experts from Zanzibar to Ghana: Deputy Chairwoman Halima Abdallah, who spearheaded the establishment of the One-Stop-Center in the Ministry of Family and Health, Dr. Marijani, who has been responsible for medical and forensic investigations since its implementation in 2011, and Farshuu Khalfa, head of a one-stop center in Stone Town. Their insights, expertise and practical experience were most welcome and helpful in drawing up the roadmap for Ghana.

Under the auspices of the Children’s Department, 30 key representatives and decision-makers took part in the workshop to discuss the need for the OSC and to develop the roadmap for a pilot program. The participants represented the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, the Social Welfare Department and the specialised Domestic Violence Unit of the Police service – DOVVSU.  Medical representative and international child rights organisations including ActionAid, World Vision, International Needs, UNFPA and UNICEF were also present.

The most important results of the workshop at a glance:

  • Development of a roadmap for the establishment of a pilot in Accra
  • National coordination agency of the One-Stop-Center pilot program will be the Ministry of Health with support of other ministries
  • An inter-ministerial conference is scheduled for the first quarter of 2019 to decide on the roadmap and timetable
  • A core group will identify a possible location for the pilot program in Accra

 

Working groups during the workshops.

Young people fight for sustainability

The collaboration with the Julius-Leber-Schule in Hamburg began with an Erasmus+ project, called sustain.me, which was attended by the head of our children’s rights department, Samia Kassid, in the early summer of last year. As part of sustain.me, second-level students from Germany, France, Belgium, Italy and Spain came together to work together on the project on sustainability.

Chinese Delegation visited Maryland to learn about Environmental Education

Silver Winner of FPA 2015, Maryland, inspires education experts from China

Environmental Education has been a priority in the Chinese education system. But unfortunately, there was no significant increase in the students’ engagement for environmental protection so far. China is therefore interested in learning from successful models in other countries.

We organised a conference in Maryland in 2016, and presented their award-winning Environmental Literacy Standards. During the conference, we looked into the success factors of the legislation which aims to educate students to become environmentally and sustainability aware citizens.

A Chinese delegation has also been present back in 2016. Inspired by the conference, they now visited Maryland again and met with officials at  Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). They discussed various topics and  questions, for instance regarding the curriculum framework and the relationship between government environmental agencies and school systems. How to provide more suitable materials and publicity channels for environmental education? How to improve the teaching staff’s environmental education level? And how to raise national awareness of environmental protection and establish public awareness of environmental supervision?

The delegation would like to conduct exchanges of experience in environmental education legislation in Maryland, particularly its experience in formulating environmental education standards, as well as successful cases of environmental improvement through education.

The World Future Council facilitated the meeting will follow up on this topic with the Chinese delegation.

Policy Handbook: Advancing Education for Sustainable Development

Abstract

Given the huge challenges the world faces, it is clear that we need to teach, learn and live in a fundamentally different manner. Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is increasingly recognised as playing a central role in empowering learners of all ages to positively respond to local and global challenges and act in a more peaceful, just, inclusive and sustainable manner. This approach is already helping people develop the skills, values and attitudes necessary to create more resilient societies and transition towards the skilled, green, low-carbon economies of the future.

This handbook explores some of the central success factors in policy, process and practice in some of the pioneering countries and contexts where ESD is being effectively embraced. It examines some of the major trends, case studies and challenges in introducing this more holistic, progressive, hands-on education.


12 countries sign Declaration on Securing Children’s Rights

The signatories from across Africa and Asia commit to end violence against children, strengthen child rights and advocate to increase budgets for children

-PRESS RELEASE-

Zanzibar, 1 December 2017: At the International Child Rights Conference in Zanzibar on sharing best practice and policy on child protection, justice and participation, convened by the World Future Council (WFC), representatives and policymakers from Ghana, Indonesia, Liberia, Nigeria, Seychelles, Somaliland, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Zanzibar and experts on children’s rights and representatives from civil society signed the Zanzibar Declaration on Securing Children’s Rights. In addition, there were detailed country commitments on how each jurisdiction will take forward their own child rights and protection plans. The declaration was facilitated by Dr. Amb. Gertrude Ibengwé Mongella, WFC Honorary Councillor and former President of the Pan-African Parliament. Read more

Policymakers gather to share child rights best practice on protection and participation in Zanzibar

From the 28 – 30 November the World Future Council (WFC) hosted an international child rights conference in Zanzibar to explore the positive impacts of Zanzibar’s Children’s Act and share success stories on child protection, child friendly justice and participation from around the world. Representatives of ministries and policymakers from 12 countries, mainly from Africa and Asia, alongside experts on children’s rights and representatives from civil society drew up the Zanzibar Declaration on Securing Children’s Rights, committing themselves to taking strong action to eradicate all forms of violence against girls and boys. The assembly greatly benefited from the expertise and passion of two WFC Councillors Dr. Gertrude Ibengwé Mongella, former President of the Pan-African Parliament and Dr. Auma Obama, Chair and Founder of the Sauti Kuu Foundation.

Read more

When good laws change lives

Securing Child Rights in Zanzibar

Some of the loudest applause at our recent international gathering of child rights policy-makers in Zanzibar came after the representative from Indonesia took to the floor to list his key priorities for progress on child rights law: “implementation, implementation and implementation!” he boomed to a receptive audience. That this struck a chord with the assembled delegates is testament to the long history of good laws on paper and poor on-the-ground enactment that still plagues child rights policies around the world. It was to tackle this problem that over 100 participants from 15 countries were gathered by the World Future Council in Zanzibar last month, eager to learn and share best practice. We came to see for ourselves how this semi-autonomous island region of Tanzania had made some decisive moves to deliver real progress in how children experience justice and protection.

School girls in Zanzibar City

This was well illustrated by a series of field trips our visiting international legislators made to Zanzibar’s new or improved child rights institutions. One of the striking things you immediately notice is the child-friendly atmosphere that has been created throughout the system. At the new Children’s Court murals adorn the walls, staff dress in civilian clothes and closed circuit video links mean young people can give evidence in a non-threatening environment. The new One Stop Centres, which comprise a 3-room unit of plain clothed police officers, medical personnel and counsellors who provide health, legal and psychosocial services to survivors of violence 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, reduce the trauma of victims of abuse to a minimum while streamlining the collection of evidence and the provision of care.

Conselling room in Zanzibar, specially designed for children who became victims of violence

Another clear feature of the system is coordination. The National Child Protection Unit (NCPU), is the coordinating agency responsible for the implementation of the national strategy. A small team coordinates responses across governmental sectors (social welfare, health, education, justice, etc.), and involves civil society, international agencies, families and children to ensure that child justice and protection is being delivered effectively. Similarly a new Child Rights Centre serves as a hub for civil society organisations working in the field of child rights, identifying gaps in training and filling them. From here the ‘Baba Bora’ (“good father”) campaign is run to engage fathers, men and boys in changing attitudes and behaviours toward women and children, promote gender equality and transform traditional beliefs and norms in order to promote non-violence. The campaign has got the islanders talking with local exhibitions on children’s views on positive parenting, public debates and even a popular R&B song promoting the message.

 

Of course, there is much still to do in Zanzibar to fully operationalise its child rights laws and action plans and ensure that the rights of children are truly safeguarded. But for many of us who have seen the system first-hand, the innovations and progress made were impressive, particularly given Zanzibar’s limited resources. If anything, it is the system-wide approach that can serve as a model for others. So why has similar progress been so slow in some other parts of the region?

 

“Because children don’t vote often the political class ignores them altogether”

Part of the answer is certainly the cost. Across the African continent, children represent close 50% of the population, but this does not translate into them becoming a priority in national planning and resourcing decisions. In fact as Dr. Nkatha Murungi from the African Child Policy Forum noted “Because children don’t vote often the political class ignores them altogether”. When there is funding and resourcing available, too much is dependent on external development partners.

Young people deserve a chance. Zanzibar has a number of places to go for young people if they have become victims of violence and abuse, or if they want to escape from violent environments.

Child protection services in the context of Africa require long term and sustainable investment in the social welfare workforce and developing an effective system and this doesn’t come cheap. The Zanzibar national plan of action will cost $4m annually over the next four years. But it’s clear that adequate budgeting is a crucial instrument for advancing the survival, protection and development of children, particularly in the case in Africa where there are huge unmet needs for access to basic services.

It’s also clear that there can be no better way of spending resources, no matter how scarce, than on our youngest citizens. After all investing in children is investing in the success of our collective future. Whether nations and societies grow and prosper will depend to a large extent on the health, education, protection and the ideas and innovations of the coming generations. We have a huge opportunity to make progress on child rights through the global sustainable development goals (SDGs) whether on poverty (Goal 1), hunger (Goal 2), health (Goal 3), education (Goal 4), gender equality (Goal 5), climate change (Goal 13) or violence against children (Goal 16.2). There’s also no time to lose; 1 year is 6% of a childhood. Any delay in protecting their interests is a lost opportunity. Let’s get to it!

 

 

This article by Jakob von Uexull was originally posted on his HuffPost blog