Examples of Civil Society Partnerships
Working with traditional leaders to promote life saving gestures
One child dies every five minutes in Mali. Of the 1,600 babies born in Mali each day, more than 300 die before their fifth birthday; half of them before their first birthday and a quarter in the first week of life. About eight out of ten under-five deaths occur at home. The main causes of under-five deaths are neonatal conditions, pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria and malnutrition.
Since 2001 under-five mortality in Mali has significantly decreased, from 229 to 191 per 1,000 live births. This 17 per cent reduction in child mortality is encouraging but overall maternal, newborn and child survival health indicators are still some of the worst in the world. To reach the MDG 4 child mortality target, projected at 83 per 1,000 live births, national efforts have to step up considerably.
Simple, low cost, life-saving interventions to improve child and maternal survival have been identified on international level. In Mali, they are called Essential Family Practices and aim to provide parents and other caregivers with the information they need to save and improve children’s and mother’s lives. Scientific evidence shows that if four of these essential practices are adopted on a large scale by families and communities, it is possible to reduce under five mortality by 40 percent. These four practices are:
The challenge is to ensure that everyone knows and understands these facts and is motivated to put them into practice. This is why UNICEF Mali has engaged in a strategic partnership with the local Network of Traditional Communicators for Development (RECOTRADE), covering all the regions of Mali. The partnership aims at facilitating dialogue and community engagement so that children, families and communities have access to information and skills to make informed choices on child and maternal health.
Improving the knowledge of the situation of children victims of abuse
Public opinion, Government policy and resource allocation is influenced by improved data and analysis. However, regular access to quality data on child protection issues is challenging in Mali. This not only makes the monitoring of child rights violations extremely difficult, but also impedes child protection from becoming a real priority on the national agenda.
Since 2007, UNICEF Mali has worked with the international NGO International Services (IS) and the Ministry for the Promotion of Women, Children and the Family in the region of Ségou to strengthen data collection and analysis and to build a solid knowledge base on child protection. The main objective of this initiative is to improve the knowledge on child rights violations in order to reduce risks and vulnerability to violence, exploitation and abuse, and to support recovery for victims.
Impact of the partnership
The partnership has had numerous achievements, primarily:
• It has improved coordination with partners and motivated the Ministry for the Promotion of Women, Children and the Family to develop a more coherent approach to build a solid knowledge base on child protection issues.
• Fifteen key child protection indicators, covering birth registration, juvenile justice, children in public care, female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and early marriage, among others, have been adopted on a national level and integrated into the national DevInfo database.
A major challenge is to ensure that the data will be used in the furthering national development strategies for positive future results.