Last week government and non-governmental stakeholders working in child protection (CP) in Arusha met at the Mount Meru Hotel to map a shared vision on coordinated child protection services in Arusha and develop an action plan for its implementation.
Organisers of the three-day event noted that it is important to have coordinated services that protect children from abuse, respond to abuse when it occurs, ensure access to justice for children in contact or conflict with the law, and provide appropriate support to child victims of abuse and their families
50% of the nation's population is children. "We must recognize that Tanzania will not achieve its development aspirations if it does not invest in keeping children safe. Abuse impedes the development of the child, and Tanzania's development," said the organizers in a press statement.
The District Child Protection Plan was finalized at the workshop and officially launched on Friday 16th November at a Cocktail at Mt. Meru Hotel, officiated by the Arusha City His Worship Gaudence Lyimo.
In his speech, the Mayor said " It is important that we shift our approach to children's issues from a reactive, issue based project approach ( e.g. trying to deal with increase in numbers of street children, early marriage, HIV Aids infections child labour e.t.c. without giving due consideration to the root causes of these issues does not help to resolve them) to programs for multi sectoral, sustainable systems building."
The Caucus for Children's Rights (CCR) is a local NGO development network that advances the protection and empowerment of Tanzanian children. The CCR envisions a time when Tanzania protects the human rights of every child; and when consideration of children's best interest informs policies, practices and decisions. The CCR campaigns for legal reform to protect children, catalyses a popular movement to nurture children and pilots innovative scaleable models for protecting children.
They provide a vibrant and innovative forum to promote the accountability of duty bearers towards children, to replicate good practice, share learning and catalyse adherence to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
CCR has been collaborating with the Arusha Local Government Authority (LGA) and elected officials, the legal sector and members of the caring professions to advance the shared goal of developing a system in Arusha that protects children who are victims of abuse, neglect and/or violence.
The first year (2011) has involved strengthening CCR's own child protection practice and building relationships with individuals who have strategic and oversight responsibilities and those who work on the frontline of child protection in Arusha.
Last year they hosted 6 boundary partner workshops which have been a monthly forum for sharing, planning, and professional development. At the boundary partner workshops they looked at the situation of violence against children and their roles in addressing this problem.
The just ended workshop brought together child protection actors at different levels in an effort to bring their multiple and diverse experiences together to create a shared and powerful vision whereby Arusha upholds the best interests of children in Arusha.