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ECOWAS Strengthens Child Protection Systems in West Africa

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ECOWAS Holds Virtual Consultation on Child Protection
ECOWAS Holds Virtual Consultation on Child Protection

The ECOWAS Directorate of Humanitarian and Social Affairs recently convened a pivotal online consultation from June 5-7, 2024, uniting directors responsible for child protection from member states. The gathering focused on advancing the ECOWAS Strategic Framework on Child Protection Systems Strengthening, assessing achievements, identifying emerging challenges, and strategizing to enhance regional child protection policies.

Representing Dr. Omar Alieu Touray, Commissioner for Human Development and Social Affairs and President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Olatunde Olayemi opened the session with greetings and underscored the collective commitment of member states and the Regional Working Group on Child Protection (GRPE) in promoting child welfare initiatives across West Africa.

Madam Adelise Baha, representing S.O.S Children’s Village and the GRPE, commended ECOWAS for fostering collaboration through the virtual platform and emphasized the significance of collective action in safeguarding children.

Mr. Ali Madugu from Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Women Affairs highlighted the necessity of concerted efforts in protecting children and recognized ECOWAS’s pivotal role in driving child welfare initiatives throughout the region.

Key discussions during the consultation included presentations on ECOWAS’s protection and human security focus areas, the Strategic Framework for Strengthening National Child Protection Systems, guidelines for its implementation, the ECOWAS Child Rights Data Information Management System (ECRIMS), and insights from the draft 2023 Report on Child Protection in West Africa.

Member states shared progress reports on implementing the Strategic Framework’s priorities, including combating violence against children, addressing child marriage and labor issues, enhancing birth registration, and safeguarding children in migration contexts. Best practices were exchanged, challenges were identified, and strategic next steps were collectively agreed upon.

In her closing remarks, Dr. Sintiki Tarfa Ugbe expressed gratitude to participants for their dedication and contributions, assuring that outcomes from the consultation would inform the upcoming 2023 Report on Child Protection in West Africa and guide future strategic initiatives.

Mr. Ali Madugu extended appreciation to ECOWAS and Nigeria’s Permanent Mission for their unwavering commitment to advancing child welfare across the region.

The virtual consultation drew participation from national directors overseeing child protection from Benin, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo. Additionally, representatives from the Regional Working Group on Child Protection, international NGOs including SOS Children’s Village International and Terre des Hommes, and UN agencies such as UNHCR, contributed to the robust discussions aimed at fortifying child protection systems across West Africa.

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