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URC Embarks on Collaboration to Support Vulnerable Children and Families in Africa
URC is embarking on a new collaboration with the Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative (REPSSI) and the African Network for the Prevention and Protection against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN) to support children and families affected by HIV and AIDS in Kenya, Swaziland, Tanzania, and Uganda.
REPSSI, headquartered in South Africa, works to lessen the impact of poverty, conflict, HIV, and AIDS on children by helping them get the social and emotional support they need. ANPPCAN, headquartered in Kenya, works to prevent all forms of child maltreatment and to protect children when it occurs, ensuring their rights are realized. Together, they have developed a collaborative work plan to reach their goal of strengthening child protection systems in East and Southern Africa.
Through the USAID Health Care Improvement Project, URC is supporting this goal by providing technical assistance in a number of ways, including conducting trainings on effective qualitative research and monitoring and evaluation techniques and helping coordinate the second Regional Psychosocial Support Forum, co-hosted by REPSSI and ANPPCAN, on October 29–31, 2013, in Nairobi, Kenya.
The Benefit of Collaboration
REPSSI has a long history of providing services to the community, working with a wide array of partners to strengthen the ability of communities and families to care for and protect their children by using innovative approaches and culturally appropriate tools. ANPPCAN sits on country-level child protection technical working groups, which are composed of the ministries—as well as local and international NGOs—that support children and families. The collaboration aims to promote understanding between NGOs, local communities, and ministries; foster ongoing collaboration with other organizations; and ultimately strengthen child protections systems so they function more effectively and efficiently.
The Need for Child Protection
Children in East and Southern Africa are facing a wide range of risks, including child labor, sexual exploitation and abuse, domestic violence, and discrimination and rejection for being infected with or affected by HIV. Poverty, conflict, gender issues, and certain cultural practices are major causes for the violence, exploitation, and abuse. Systems for the social and legal protection of children are generally weak, under-resourced, and poorly coordinated. Lack of effective child protection systems increases children’s vulnerabilities. Developing capacity in this area is a pressing international development priority.