Aug 7, 2012, 12:44 PM
The Gambia, through the Department of Social Welfare under the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, will today host a high-level sub-regional meeting on child protection.
The meeting, to be held at the Paradise Suites Hotel, will have its theme dubbed: “Protecting children on the move in the sub-region”.
The meeting is organised by the Swiss Foundation of the International Social Services, in collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare and their implementing partners, Child Protection Alliance (CPA) and Child Environment Development Association The Gambia (CEDAG).
Speaking at a press conference held at the Department of Social Welfare recently, the Welfare’s director, Fanta Bai Secka, told reporters that the meeting will be attended by directors responsible for child protection in Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry and The Gambia.
She further revealed that representatives of the West African Network on children on the move and other international partners are also expected to attend.
According to her, the high-level meeting is an opportunity to share inter-regional experiences and practices used in the field of child protection and juvenile justice.
The participation of young people and children on the move in raising awareness about the problems and mapping the way forward together will contribute to creating a child friendly Gambia, she said.
She went on to say the participating countries work in a network and share the same intervention methodology, thus enabling them to guarantee dignified reintegration in the child’s best interest.
She said the network aims to become a regional model of cooperation on issue of trans-national protection of children and youths.
She further asserted that the network aims among others things to provide protection, guidance and sustainable reintegration and follow-up for children in vulnerable situations beyond national borders.
It also aims to develop national and trans-national cooperation mechanisms as well as to set up awareness-raising and development measures in the most vulnerable communities from which such children depart.
This network, she noted, is part of a regional approach consisting in developing cooperation with a view to establishing joint procedures between these countries to provide concrete and lasting answer to the problems relating to child protection.
The purpose of the high level meeting is to better strategize on how to protect these children and provide means of enhancing them, she added.
Expectations from the meeting include coming up with strategies and programmes that will better support the welfare of such children.
In The Gambia, the network is targeting governors, traditional leaders and directors of various locations, while the children will be represented at the high-level meeting.