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URC Technical Expert Presents at Child Protection Systems Strengthening Conference in Senegal
URC's Senior Quality Improvement Advisor for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) Programs, Dr. Diana Chamrad, co-presented a session entitled "Orphans and Vulnerable Children Response— Ensuring Quality of Care" at the first Conference on Child Protection Systems Strengthening in Sub-Saharan Africa in Dakar, Senegal, last week.
Dr. Chamrad and her co-presenters—Mr. Dionisio Matos, Project Management Specialist for OVC at the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Mozambique; Dr. Manasa Dzirikure, Regional Advisor for OVC & Youth at the Southern African Development Community; and Dr. Nicole Behnam, Senior OVC Advisor for the US Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator in the Department of State— described USAID’s overall approach to ensuring quality of care for OVC and highlighted how the approach can work at both the country and regional levels.
According to UNICEF, child protection systems "comprise the set of laws, policies, regulations, and services needed across all social sectors...to support prevention [of] and response to protection-related risks," including sexual abuse and exploitation, trafficking, violence, homelessness, hazardous labor, armed conflict, child marriage, and unnecessary institutionalization. Strengthening child protection systems entails coordinating and improving government-led elements (e.g., laws) and community-led elements (e.g., practices) to prevent and respond to these risks, thereby keeping children safe.
The conference goal was "to reinforce, support, and sustain national efforts to improve child protection systems’ impact on children in Sub-Saharan Africa through cross-country exchange, dialogue, and learning on effective systems strengthening approaches and practices." Over 300 child protection practitioners from over 36 countries attended, including country delegates, donors, regional and global child protection experts, and senior representatives from the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, and the African Union.
Dr. Chamrad introduced participants to the Africa Child and Family Alliance, a regional platform under the USAID Health Care Improvement Project (HCI) that aims to strengthen child protection systems by focusing on the alignment of national and community mechanisms of care and support for vulnerable children and families. URC is organizing the alliance’s first meeting in September to bring together multiple African organizations and extensive expertise in child protection and quality improvement.
May 14, 2012