Children are at great risk of all forms of violence in Niger and need urgent protection.
In Niger, more than 80 per cent of children have experienced violent discipline, just six in 10 children have a birth certificate and 28 per cent of girls are married before 15 (76 per cent before 18).
Adolescents, particularly teenage mothers and children with special needs, do not receive services adapted to their needs. Niger has enacted major laws, policies and strategies to combat gender-based violence and promote gender equality, but competing customary, religious and national laws result in ambiguities for rights holders and duty bearers.
Child migration is an emerging issue as Niger is mainly known as a transit country for migratory flows from West Africa towards Libya and Algeria and, to a lesser extent, to Europe. The country is facing the challenge of mixed migration movements, displaced children, refugees and unaccompanied children.
There is a lack of data on minors in contact with the law and street children, and only unreliable information about children on the move. In Niger, the child protection system lacks quality services. Extremely low government funding (0.16 per cent of the approved budget in 2016) and weak coordination mechanisms between the social welfare and justice sectors undermine the ability of service providers to prevent and respond to cases of violence, exploitation and abuse.
UNICEF works with partners on a number of issues by strengthening child protection systems and promoting positive social norms in all contexts - development and emergency - to prevent and respond to violence, exploitation and abuse directed at children.
We support a holistic approach to strengthening child protection systems, promoting alignment and coordination of approaches through national ownership and leadership.
We support the Government in establishing a multisectoral platform to ensure greater complementarity of actions and more efficient utilization of human and financial resources to implement and monitor child protection strategies.
This will entail capacity-building and technical support for the implementation of the national child protection framework and the national action plan on ending child marriage.
In partnership with governmental actors, United Nations agencies and civil society, UNICEF works to strengthen child protection information systems and case management.
We focus on the functioning of judicial and social services, including birth registration at decentralized levels, while improving information systems, so that vulnerable children, including children on the move, migrants, those in contact with the law and those in emergencies, are better protected against violence and abuse.
We support national and community efforts to address harmful gender norms and prevent child marriage through community mobilization and work with adolescents, religious and traditional leaders, community and women’s organizations and schools.