Stoking the momentum – UNICEF and Save the Children team up to respond to the UN study on violence
In a poignant television ad, children send messages against violence soaring through the cities and hills of their native Philippines. The children’s messages, written on paper airplanes, are part of a public service announcement being aired in April as a complement to the country’s new national plan of action on violence against children.
It is a plan two years in the making, with UNICEF, Save the Children and four other local and international NGOs working with the Government’s Council for the Welfare of Children to create it. The plan is largely based on the recommendations of the 2006 United Nations Secretary-General’s Violence Against Children Study.
The collaboration of child-rights agencies in the Philippines, typically a leader in child-rights innovations, is regarded as an inspiring example of follow-up action in wake of the violence study. “It’s the model every country should follow,” noted Dominique Plateau, child protection manager with Save the Children Sweden and co-organizer of a recent workshop for 34 UNICEF and Save the Children officers from 16 countries in the region to discuss what has been done in each country since publication of the violence study. The two-day event was designed to identify areas where the two agencies could collaborate to further implement the violence study’s recommendations.
The Philippines has also made significant legislative reforms related to violence against children, such as enacting a Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act in 2006, and an anti-trafficking law in 2003. Draft bills addressing child pornography, corporal punishment, the age of sexual consent and foster care also have been filed with the Congress.
In Indonesia, UNICEF and Save the Children have helped support national data collection and much-needed research. While in Papua New Guinea, there has been a strengthening of the government agencies that work with and for children and families, including the passage of a Child Protection Act in 2007 that paves the way for establishing National and Provincial Child Protection Councils, with statutory oversight.
The recovery and social reintegration services for child victims of violence developed in Cambodia, the promotion of good parenting/non-violent values in Fiji and a model community-based diversion programme for children in conflict with the law in Mongolia have also been highlighted as good examples of carry-on work.
“The East Asia and Pacific region is the first to organize a joint Save the Children and UNICEF conference on the follow-up to the violence against children study and this is an indication of how well the two organizations work together throughout these countries,” said Sawon Hong, UNICEF Regional Advisor for child protection.