Child Protection

Child protection in Somalia

Priority issues

UNICEF in Action


Protection publications


UNICEF in Action

UNICEF is working to rebuild the protective environment for Somalia’s most vulnerable children and women – both by helping to improve national capacity and legal protection, and by providing safe havens for those most at risk of abuse and exploitation. Achievements for children include:

Community mobilization and empowerment
UNICEF has been providing training to Child Protection Advocates (CPAs) throughout Somalia, to mobilize vulnerable communities to identify, prioritize and address the key child protection challenges they face.

Family reunification
There were massive displacements following the 2011 famine. Over 1500 separated and unaccompanied children were identified through children centres at the border areas with Kenya and Ethiopia. UNICEF is working towards having separated and unaccompanied children reunited with their families using community based networks, local radio and through setting up of an identification, documentation, tracing and reunification system across the region. Preventive mechanisms are to be established in families and communities to prevent family separation.

Support for survivors of gender-based violence
UNICEF has supplied post-rape treatment kits to all districts in Mogadishu through four hospitals and Maternal and Child Health centres (MCHs), and has also trained MCH workers on psychosocial support and clinical management of rape. UNICEF is ensuring that survivors of rape who are still at risk,  are relocated to safer areas, and can access income generating activities to support their families. With the help of UNICEF and partners’ technical support, the Somaliland and Puntland Ministries of Health and Education have introduced Psychosocial Care and Support training into the teachers and health professionals training curricula. In Central South Zone, UNICEF is training  teachers on basic emotional support, to ensure that schools have social workers able to prevent and respond to sexual violence and abuse against children.

Gender-Based Violence Information Management System (GBVIMS)
UNICEF partners are using the new GBVIMS to track trends and patterns of different forms of GBV conducted both against children and adults. The GBVIMS informs our programmes to better respond and prevent GBV.

Monitoring of grave violations of children’s rights
A network of 15 organizations with 58 trained monitors has been established across Somalia to collect data on grave violations against children in situations of armed conflict: killing or maiming, recruitment into armed groups, attacks on schools and hospitals, rape or sexual violence, abduction, and denial of humanitarian access for children.

Advocacy for the release of children involved in military activities
120 Children were released in 2011, 48 of whom were entered into a UNICEF-supported reintegration programme for children associated with armed forces/groups and those at risk of recruitment. To date a total of 655 children have been provided with education, skills training and psychosocial services.

Mine Risk Education (MRE)
The implementation of Mine Risk Education in South Central Somalia is being delivered through a training-of-trainers approach, where UNICEF’s implementing partners train selected UNICEF Child Protection Advocates (CPAs) and Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) facilitators as trainers in children focused Mine Risk Education. MRE also targets schools and other learning institutions. The project aims to strengthen the capacity of 35 UNICEF Child Protection Advocates (CPAs) and 350 Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) facilitators to implement children focused Mine Risk Education in South Central Somalia.

Fuel Efficient Stoves
UNICEF supports the distribution of fuel efficient stoves as a pro-active GBV prevention mechanism. Partner surveys clearly demonstrate that girls and women are afraid of collecting firewood since gang rape is a serious threat. They also often exchange food rations and sex for firewood and charcoal. As such, UNICEF has introduced fuel efficient stoves that use alternative fuel sources such as waste products. In addition, the production of fuel efficient stoves is done in cooperatives which provide income for the most vulnerable families.

Programme for youth
UNICEF, UNDP and ILO are implementing a joint programme for youth in Somalia. The programme aims to contain and prevent violent conflict by engaging these youth through the creation of employment and livelihood opportunities. Since September 2011, 700 children from violence sensitive areas participated in life skills based education, vocational training, and mentorship programs and are being reintegrated back into the community. One of the highlights of the program has been the complete turnaround of a significant number of youth from the engagement in violent activities.  The impact of this program has been noted by government in contributing to peace building and the stabilization of fragile areas. Phase two of this program has been planned in three regions.

Combatting FGM/C
30,000 Community members were educated on the effects of FGM/C and the need to abandon the practice, while 661 girls were rescued from FGM/C and received psychosocial support. Some 28 Communities recently issued a public declaration stating that they had abandoned FGM/C

Child protection policies
Technical and financial support has been provided to policy and legislative issues, including the Somaliland 2008 Juvenile Justice Law and draft Family Law, as well as comprehensive and advanced youth policies that ban all forms of FGM/C and corporal punishment in schools in Puntland and Somaliland.



 Email this article

unite for children