Jan 25, 2012, 11:26 AM
Each year in Sub-Saharan Africa an increasing number of children find themselves in insecure situations.
They are either being forced to leave their homes as a result of poverty, hardship, in search of knowledge as almudos, or as child labourers.
We are very much concerned about the plight of street children, who are either seen begging or selling along our streets. These children are equally at the risk of beng exploited or abused along the way.
The acts of violence whether physical, sexual or psychological do have serious effects on the overall well-being of children.
Children with disabilities, those living in the streets, those in conflict with the law and refugee and displaced children are particularly vulnerable.
Thus concerted efforts are needed to address the phenomenon by all actors.
We, therefore, welcome the West Africa Initiative for the protection of children and partners in Banjul for their week-long meeting to review their activities and plan for the future.
The collaborative efforts of all key actors such as child-friendly NGOs, police, immigration officials, and department of Social Welfare will, no doubt, enhance the protection, return and reintegration of vulnerable children and young migrants on the move.
We hope that establishing cooperation between all 15 ECOWAS countries on the basis of harmonized procedures and standards, and a common methodology for intervention would boost the efforts in addressing the menace.
We call on all to help reunite children with their families, and provide them with little support for the fact that the child you help may equally safe you in future.
Parents must live up to their moral and social responsibility of caring and showing love to their children at all times.
Collaboration between countries, particularly the custom officers at the borders, would also help in identifying and reuniting vulnerable children on the move with their families.
Internally, we have seen a lot of children roaming the streets, when such children should be going to school or vocational centers to acquire life skills.
"We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today."