Save the Children International (SCI) and its partners have been challenged to take a leading role in strengthening Child Protection Systems in their respective Country Offices, stressing that functioning child protection systems are key to the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) targets.
Senior Child Protection Technical Expert at Save the Children Sweden, Mali Nilsson, cited SDG targets 5.2, which aims to to end all forms of violence against girls and women; 5.3; to eliminate harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage, and female genital mutilation; and 8.7 whose attainment will depend on how countries’ policies respond to the rights of children.
Nilsson made the sentiments in Lilongwe during the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) and Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) CSO Programme Regional Learning Workshop.
Save the Children is a key partner in the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, led by UNICEF, which supports collaborative efforts to achieve SDG 16.2 and other related VAC targets.
The partnership has adopted the seven INSPIRE strategies for ending violence against children.
Nilsson emphasized that strengthening efforts for child protection systems should be based on every child’s non-negotiable right to be protected and cared for, ideally by their family or in a family setting.
“The system needs to be rooted in the socio-cultural context(s); building upon informal practices, local values, and beliefs in families and communities that already support the care and protection of girls and boys of different ages and backgrounds,” she said.
She also called for what she described as ‘Advocate & Campaign’ for improved policies and financing to end child marriage and other forms of violence against children.
Nilsson also appealed for the shift in power through a community-led children protection common approach and explore digital solutions to strengthening community social welfare workforce, building at least one digital tool to help protect children from digital harm.
The five-day regional learning workshop ends on Friday. It attracted participants from Ethiopia, Kenya, Zambia, Rwanda, Tanzania and Malawi as a host.