Programmes on the Rights and Protection of Children


As indicated in their names, these new programmes defend Children’s Rights and more particularly their right to protection. Basically, they focus on respecting the rights of survival and development for children and youngsters (nutrition, health, decent living conditions, education and leisure), their protection against all forms of violence, abuse, exploitation and negligence as well as the affirmation of their rights to participate: children have the right to express their opinions and getting involved in the decisions impacting their lives.

Families, communities and authorities are involved stakeholders in these programmes that aim at building a society able to answer, on its own, vulnerability issues and establish a prevention mechanism. Everywhere where the programme is implemented, local associations, children protection committees, NGOs and national, regional and local authorities are amongst the most active partners. Despite varying environments from one place to another, the programmes have all the same target: improve the situation of families for greater resilience, the continuous reinforcement of the community, implementing the protection of children on all levels in order to allow them to grow in a healthy, protected and promising environment where they can play an active role.

To succeed, the activities in place are articulated around three axes: the protection of the child and youngster (main pillar), the economic reinforcement and the development of capacities and competences of all the concerned players. The approach is inclusive and the activities evolve.


The Community-based Empowerment Programmes for the Protection of the Child (CEPPC) are put in place in West Africa (Guinea, Mali, Niger, Senegal) while a Programme on Children’s Rights is being established in Uzbekistan, five countries where the Luxemburgish association SOS Villages d’Enfants Monde has been involved with for years through its Family Strengthening Programmes. Despite the name of the programmes being changed, it is foremost to emphasize the essential participation of communities in every step of the process. Within the CEPPCs, the principle of a direct support to the beneficiaries is abandoned and the SOS teams are now playing a role of facilitator because the community has to solve their problems by themselves.
Furthermore a new methodology is implemented. The programmes are analysed based on results with a constant evaluation of the activities. Vulnerable children, foremost those who have lost or are at risk of losing parental care, are the direct beneficiaries of these programmes which, at the end, have to impact all the children and more largely the entire community. Over 9,000 children and 2,300 families in five countries (Guinea, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Uzbekistan) are concerned.

In West Africa, despite socio-economic and cultural differences, problematic issues overlap. In general, the vulnerability of children is closely linked to multi dimensional poverty and to negative cultural practices. Important to note the low engagement of governments when it comes to apply legislation linked with the rights and protection of children. Atop, SOS Villages d’Enfants Monde has constituted a technical support team operational since 2015 in four countries (Guinea, Mali, Niger and Senegal). The programmes target 8,500 children and 2,150 families and should lead to the implementation of community-based protection mechanisms. The retained approach is holistic and multi-sectorial and the empowerment of communities is linked to basic social services.

In Uzbekistan, landlocked and desert country, the vulnerability of children is linked to institutional care that is not adapted and that short-circuits family-based care or alternatively within foster families. The Khorezm region, Urgench in particular, has been seriously affected by socio-economic consequences linked with environmental degradations. Consequence is a high poverty level that affects in particular women and children. Health and living conditions of the more vulnerable are deteriorating. The challenges are big while the state system remains rigid.
Nonetheless, the government has reinforced initiatives in favour of reforms and social services aimed at vulnerable people and has also decided to safeguard the rights of women and children. The programme that targets 500 children and 150 families needs to lead to the implementation of community-based mechanisms of protection with an important emphasis on advocacy work towards authorities. The SOS teams will play a key role to facilitate the coordination between the State’s social services and civilian actors.