In 2019, Plan International Ireland received funding from the European Union to begin a project in Senegal which aims to promote changes in social norms and behaviour to advance children’s rights. We also aim to improve the quality of child protection services for child survivors, children at risk or children in conflict with the law.
One in two children is exposed to poverty and deprivation, harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation, early marriage, and child labour.
We’re working to tackle the root causes of the violations of children’s rights. We aim to change the behaviour of families, communities and children in order to prevent abuse, exploitation, neglect and violence against children in Senegal.
We are currently working in seven regions of Senegal (Fatick, Kaolack, Diourbel, Kaffrine, Kolda, Sedhiou and Kedougou).
At the beginning of the project we surveyed 2,100 children. Nearly half (45%) had been subjected to acts of mistreatment; 16% had been threatened and 9% had actually experienced violence.
Only 52% stated that they know what child protection is and 65% of children were unaware that there are laws that protect them.
Of the adults surveyed, 3 in 4 were aware of the existence of laws to protect children’s rights, and understood that they have a role to play in the protection of their children, with 20% disclaiming any role.
We believe that intergenerational dialogue is essential to the success of this project. This involves the participation of people of all ages and all backgrounds – from young people to community leaders, families, local elected representatives and religious leaders.
We are working with local partners in Senegal to:
The project strengthens the capacities of the local government and committees for the protection of children, who play a key role in enabling the active participation of young people and women.
Community leaders, religious leaders, women’s associations and village Protection Committees are engaged in community mobilisation and advocacy activities with the authorities.
These groups are trained on children’s rights, existing protection mechanisms and services, gender equality, advocacy and intergenerational discussions involving people of all ages in the community.
We are also training journalists in children’s rights and gender equality, so that they can support raising awareness of the children’s rights issues such as early marriage and violence against children.