The project aims to improve the well-being of children in eight regions of Senegal (Matam, Sédhiou, Kaolack, Kaffrine, Kolda, Kédougou, Tambacounda and Ziguinchor) and to offer them adequate protection during their schooling so that they can live and study within structures that ensure their safety and give them every opportunity possible to be successful. The project focuses on building the capacity of child protection and education actors, creating a safe school environment and raising students’ and communities’ awareness of children’s rights. With a view to ensure appropriate support of child protection systems in school environments, the project simultaneously works on systems, services and programs, early intervention services and prevention. Project activities include: (1) training security forces, magistrates, social workers and school authorities on legal instruments relating to child protection; (2) developing a national action plan to counter child abuse in school environments, raising school stakeholders’ awareness of preventive control measures for epidemics (e.g., Ebola hemorrhagic fever); (3) involving a number of stakeholders in awareness campaigns to discontinue early and forced marriage practices; and (4) raising economic operators’ awareness of alternative solutions to child labour in mining areas. The project is expected to directly affect 750,000 children (382,500 girls and 367,500 boys), ranging in age from 3 to 18 years and registered in 1,700 public school facilities, as well as to indirectly affect 10,000 youth who are out of school or who have no schooling (6,500 girls and 3,500 boys) from 14 to 18 years of age. This project is one of the three components of the “Strengthening Support for Child Protection in Education in Senegal” project, valued overall at $20M and jointly implemented by Plan Canada, UNICEF and the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Senegal (through the Ministry of Education). It is part of Senegal’s National Child Protection Strategy (SNPE – 2013–2018) and the Program for Improvements to Quality, Equity and Transparency in Education (PAQUET – 2013–2025).
The expected outcomes of this project include: (1) the government and local institutions play a more effective role in prevention and child protection, taking into account international standards and gender-specific differences; (2) boys and girls in deprived areas have improved access to a safe, equitable and violence-free school environment, which helps to protect them and promotes their effective participation in school; and (3) local actors in formal and informal protection systems provide increased protection against, and/or prevention of, labour-based abuse and exploitation for boys and girls in the targeted areas.
Results achieved as of March 2020 include the following: (1) a study was conducted on gender disparities related to child protection in the project areas; (2) 14 departmental child protection committees (CDPEs) received support in the form of information and communications technology equipment, and 5 CDPEs received financial support to implement child protection action plans; (3) the CDPEs helped get 1,030 child victims (508 of them girls) into care; (4) a guide on detecting and managing hazardous situations affecting students was produced and 50,000 copies were distributed; (5) child friendly spaces were fit up, which included planting trees and painting murals, in 49 educational institutions in 4 departments (Koumpentoum, Malem Hodar, Nioro, Saraya), reaching 14,166 children (7,054 of them girls); and (6) 257 community members, including religious leaders (108 of them women), took part in training sessions to strengthen child protection mechanisms at the community level.