Islamic Republic of The Gambia recently launched the National Child Protection
Strategy 2016-2020, developed with technical and financial support from UNICEF.
Strategy, along with its costed Plan of Action, is the result of a series of
consultations and engagements led by the Department of Social Welfare, with
critical input from the Child Protection Sub-Committee and a wide range of
child protection actors, community members, care-givers and children.
Strategy follows from a mapping and assessment of the Child Protection systems
in The Gambia held in 2013, and demonstrates the commitment to ensure that
these systems are made consistent with the rights and welfare of children in
the country. The mapping and assessment drew attention to a range of critical
issues including child marriage, female genital mutilation/cutting, child
labour and other forms of violence against children.
response to these child protection issues in The Gambia requires a systemic
approach, involving the contributions and action of all child protection actors
as well as community members. The five-year Strategy seeks to move towards
sustainable interventions to ensure that quality services are provided for all
children who need them.
a vision to create “a country where all children receive comprehensive
protection that contributes to the achievement of their full potential, and
participate in their own protection form risks of violence, abuse, neglect and
exploitation”, the launching of the Strategy couldn’t have come at a better
time. With new opportunities in the creation of legislation against the
practices of FGM/C and child marriage, the strategy stands a great chance at
fulfilling its intended purpose.
to the Press shortly after the launching, the UNICEF Resident Representative,
Sara Beysolow Nyanti commended the government of the Islamic Republic of The
Gambia and partners for the steps taken to create an enabling environment to
provide child protection services to all children in the country. She added
that the strategy does not belong to any one sector of government, but to all
sectors involved in ensuring protection and safeguarding of the rights of
children such as Justice including the Judiciary, Social Welfare, Health,
Police and others.
accompanying costed Child Protection Plan of Action 2016-2018, developed to
guide the implementation of the Strategy, highlights key activities proposed
from the 2013 mapping an assessment. These activities are to be implemented
within the given timeframe, aiming to achieve comprehensive results in the
protection of children in The Gambia. The Plan of Action answers to the six strategic
objectives of the Child Protection Strategy, and will address systemic
prevention and response to child protection issues across the country.