#Article (Archive)

WIO Opens Office in The Gambia

Apr 21, 2008, 6:49 AM | Article By: By Nfamara Jawneh

Unique Dutch Strategy Improves lives of African Orphans

World Initiative for Orphans (WIO), headquarters in The Netherlands, is an independent, non- profit human rights organisation for orphaned and abandoned children worldwide. WIO strives to guard the fundamental needs of these children with a sense of urgency.

In a few African countries World Initiative for Orphans Foundation has already signed operational agreements with the leading ministries to become partners in adding new ideas and pragmatic solutions for children without parental care. Kenya, The Gambia and The Democratic Republic of Congo are the first countries determined to reform their policy in full cooperation with WIO.

To this effect, WIO last week opened its regional office for West Africa in The Gambia.

According to Mr. Morris I.O Anyim, the WIO country Manager, The Gambia office will co-ordinate WIO affairs and activities in the West African sub region.

"Progress in the development of appropriate alternative care for orphaned and abandoned children and the reduction of institutionalisation is too limited. More must be done. Most countries do not have a comprehensive and effective national policy plan or action plan for orphaned and abandoned children. Such a plan should include the necessary measures to provide all children without parental care with alternative care in a family type setting, base on international best practices," he said.

Mr. Morris revealed all these things in an exclusive interview at The Point offices recently. He said that prior to the opening of the Gambian office, the WIO international CEO, Mr. Maarten G.H. Brekelmans, visited the country on two auspicious occasions. During these visits he met with various stakeholders.

The WIO country Manager further revealed that the organisation has so far received commendations from several human rights organisations and individuals including Jakob Egbert Doek Chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

Meanwhile, worldwide there are 150 million orphaned and abandoned children (growing to 250 million in 2012). These vulnerable children need special protection, but that is hardly dealt with in a strategic manner. WIO plan to unite and co-ordinate countries, universities and involve leaders in a strong coalition of alternative care experts. The WIO-Triangle of stakeholders will focus on the best available child placement option for children without parental care. It will also serve as a global knowledge network on behalf of the development of child welfare policies and legislation for these children and enforce their rights.