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Putting children at the centre of development and protection

UNICEF South Africa/2017/Huijbregts
© UNICEF South Africa/2017/Huijbregts
Young people who’s lives have improved through the support of child and youth care workers. share their experiences at the NACCW Biennial Conference in Kimberly.

UNICEF supports gathering child and youth care workers in Kimberley

7 July 2017 - In light of its core mandate recognizing the right of every child to be loved, cared for and protected, UNICEF, the Department of Social Development (DSD) and other partners supported a national gathering of child and youth care practitioners who have dedicated their lives to the protection of at-risk children.

The National Association of Child and Youth Care Workers (NACCW) 21st Biennial Conference in Kimberley in the Northern Cape province of South Africa brought together nearly 1000 individuals who support of children at risk in many different ways.

While notable gains have been made for children in post-apartheid South Africa, poverty persists for too many children and one out of three children experience a form of violence multiple times before the age of 18.

UNICEF South Africa/2017/Reddy
© UNICEF South Africa/2017/Reddy
UNICEF South Africa Chief of Child Protection and Social Policy Mayke Huijbregts being interviewed by SABC television at the NACCW Biennial Conference in Kimberly, July 2017.

With support from DSD, UNICEF and USAID, the NACCW established South Africa's Isibindi model which supports children through child and youth care workers who help instil structure at home, negotiating with teachers, ensuring they have the documents to register for government grants and teaching children life skills from cooking to washing to reproductive health to budgeting. To help further this remarkable initiative, UNICEF hosted a day-long pre-conference with 150 Isibindi convenors.

Included was a youth component, with 132 orphaned or at-risk speaking with confidence and passion on their right to be heard, to be loved, protected and cared for while having access to health, education and employment opportunities.

A press conference was held which allowed media to find out more about this life-changing initiative and to raise awareness on the work being done to better the lives of children.

In her keynote address UNICEF Chief of Child Protection and Social Policy Mayke Huijbregts noted that “deepening investments in prevention and early intervention programmes, will over time reduce the burden and therefore the cost of the statutory child protection system, as prevention is always better than cure”.

 

 

 

 

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