The Child Rights Governance Project at ACPF was designed with these developments and rationales in mind. It seeks to contribute to improved implementation and enforcement of child rights and child protection laws and policies in Africa, through building evidence and knowledge on better child protection and child rights governance practices, as well as by contributing to the enhancement of the capacity of institutions to better link child rights policy to practice and promote greater government accountability. It is widely documented that, whereas resource availability and prioritisation play a significant role in the implementation of the rights, the inadequacy of resource and knowledge capacity amongst key stakeholders in the sector is a major impediment to the fulfilment of and accountability for the implementation of these rights. The project therefore seeks to build knowledge on better ways of co-ordination within institutions as well as amongst different institutions across the sectoral spectrum.
The objectives of the Project are regional, multi-sectoral and cross-thematic. The Project seeks to build on previous initiatives and will devote substantial attention to consolidating the gains made in advocating for child rights governance and child protection within the ACERWC and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), especially the East African Community (EAC). One of the greatest gains made within the EAC in the past few years has been the adoption of the EAC Child Policy in 2016. Furthermore, the EAC is a unique region having two of the world’s six pathfinder countries in addressing violence against children. These countries have the necessary and demonstrable political will and policy foundations to lead by example in protecting children against all forms of violence. Paying keen attention to and building upon the gains made in respect of the EAC is therefore essential to achieving the goals of the Project.
Cross-country co-operation among CSOs and governments in addressing child protection challenges is also a central theme of this Project. Co-operation and cross-learning across regions both within the government and CSO sectors also form an important element of the Project. It seeks to boost capacity and facilitate transfer of knowledge and better collaboration and synergy among African CSOs by strengthening the African Partnership to End Violence Against Children (APEVAC) as a pan-African platform established to facilitate the uptake of the VAC aspects in the Agenda 2040 for Children in Africa and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through catalysing innovative programming, knowledge building and cross-country sharing. The Project will also continue building the capacity of CSOs to monitor the implementation of children’s rights.
Collaboration amongst the RECs is necessary given the enormity of child protection challenges and the similarity of the challenges facing the various sub-regions in the continent. The African Union’s Agenda 2063 has clearly articulated the need for greater integration of the continent, which includes cross-country and inter-regional collaboration in advancing human rights, especially children’s rights. The RECs can play an important role in linking the AU with Member States and in creating stronger integration within their own sub-regions as well as with their sub-regional counterparts.