Child Protection




Feature Stories



© UNICEF/MLIA2009/Diallo
A girl drinks milk through a straw after receiving a facial tattoo. Child protection strategies include working with communities around harmful traditional practices.

Combating harmful traditional practices

The Mali-UNICEF country programme and partners, particularly CEDEF, CED and CADBEE Committees, work to curb discriminatory practices against women and girls, including addressing harmful traditional practices such as FGM/C and forced or early marriage. UNICEF and the Government of Mali are working together to fight discrimination against women and girls, particularly focusing on behaviour change to counter harmful traditional practices that negatively affect their health and access to education.

UNICEF supports the National Programme for Combating Excision (PNLE) in developing a five-year operational strategy action plan. Similarly, since 2007, UNICEF has supported the National Directorate for the Advancement of Children and Families (DNPEF). The adoption of these two documents by the Government will be an initial systemic and structured national response to the recommendations made by the above-mentioned Committees in 2006, 2007 and 2009.

Justice for children

Under the Cooperation Programme between the Government of Mali and UNICEF (2008 - 2012), the major outcome expected with respect to juvenile justice is for women and children to have broader access to justice by 2012 (see page 52 CPAP). To achieve this, the Child Protection Programme is working primarily with the Ministry of Justice and Non-Governmental Organizations that operate in the area of justice.

The main activities are:
- strengthening the technical skills of those working in the field (juvenile judges, judicial police officers, social workers, and prison guards) in international and national standards on juvenile justice;
- strengthening the logistic capabilities of juvenile courts. Thus, since 2008, a vehicle was provided to the Planning and Statistics Unit of the Ministry of Justice and to the Juvenile Court of Bamako, 12 computer kits were delivered to the court and all children’s judges in the Courts of First Instance of Mali.

© UNICEF/MLIA2010/Asselin
A birth registration book sits waiting for use in a community health centre in Kayes Region.

Birth registration

The Government of Mali has developed an action plan (2005-2008) to modernise civil services, such as birth registry, through the Support Authority for Civil Status Consolidation (MACEC)  of the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Local Authorities (MATCL). This action plan, with six major components, provides the reference framework for all civil society activities, namely:
1. Adoption of the civil status registration system through legislative and regulatory framework in the context of decentralization, good governance and enhanced enforcement of the law governing civil status;
2. Implementation of the civil status database by: (a) providing computer equipment and software; (b) managing the computer system; (c) maintaining the computer network; and (d) managing MACEC staff;
3. Capacity-building for civil status registrars by: (a) developing and implementing a training plan for civil status employees;(b) designing training modules and preparing a standard training handbook; and (c) training stakeholders.
4. Improved access to civil status services by: (a) increasing the number of birth declaration staff to have one per village, hamlet, or neighbourhood; (b) supplying, on a regular basis, the equipment required for proper registration of vital events;

 5. Advocacy and communication through: (a) sensitization of the population, administrative authorities, staff and partners on the duty of reporting vital events, as well as compliance with the rules of procedures; (b) involvement of community leaders, mothers and children in the collection and reporting of vital events; and (c) dissemination of laws governing civil status and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child as regards civil status;
6. Institutional support through: (a) biennial coverage of all prefectures by the MACEC staff; and (b) establishment of mobile offices; (BUMEC) in nomadic areas.

UNICEF is involved in the design and implementation of this plan, and provides both technical and financial support.

Children who live and work on the street

Children who are victims of violence need special protection and care. In light of this, Mali has made significant legislative efforts to ratify most of the international instruments concerning the protection of human rights in general, and in particular children’s rights (CRC, ACRWC, etc.). At the domestic level, Mali has adopted several texts aimed at promoting children's rights. In this respect, the Child Protection Code remains a reference document.

Furthermore, child protection issues need to be resolved at three levels: family, community and institutional. While at the institutional level there are a series of legislative and regulatory mechanisms for children, the capacities of families and communities have also been strengthened through specific training on child rights and the establishment and operationalization of basic community structures and child promotion and protection consultation frameworks.



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