Child protection


UNICEF in action

Planned results


UNICEF in action

Girl's education in South Sudan
© UNICEF South Sudan/2008/Pirozzi
Members of a Girls' Education Movement club sing about the importance of girls' education in Rumbek, Lakes State.

UNICEF uses the following four strategic approaches to strengthen the protective environment for boys, girls and young people:

  1. Promoting Justice for Children – through the provision of accessible, effective and quality protection services to children who are in contact with the law. UNICEF supports those children particularly vulnerable to abuse, neglect and violence by working with Special Protection Units at police stations and by strengthening social welfare services, and actors within the judiciary.
  2. Support to Community-based Programmes for the Protection of Children Affected by Armed Conflict – This includes preventing the recruitment and use of children by armed forces or armed groups; supporting the release and reintegration of children who are still associated with armed forces and groups; preventing and responding to violence against children, including gender-based violence; protecting children from harmful traditional practices; protecting children from abduction, including by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA); providing psychosocial support services, family tracing and reunification of separated and unaccompanied children; providing family-based care services for children without parental care, including children who live and work on the streets; strengthening community support groups to enhance the protection of children; and supporting the provision of mine risk education to protect children from landmines and explosive remnants of war.
  3. Advocacy and support for the implementation of the Child Act; the protection of children associated with armed forces and groups; introduction of social protection programme as a poverty reduction measure; development of the civil registration system Child Protection.
  4. Capacity development of key actors within the social welfare, legal systems and the judiciary, lawmakers and law enforcement agents at national and state level, community based child protection workers, children, young people, families and communities.

Key achievements

  • Enactment and dissemination of the Child Act. More than 200,000 government officials, community members and children have received information on the Act and the use of the framework to enhance the legal protection of children.
  • Strengthened social welfare system through the training of social workers in the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare and the State Ministries of Social Development.
  • In the last five years, UNICEF has supported the release and reintegration of more than 3,500 children who been associated with armed forces or groups.
  • In the last two years more than 50,000 children and young people affected by armed conflict have received protection services, including psychosocial support.
  • In the last two years more than 275,000 key actors in child protection in the national and state government, UN, international and national NGOs, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations and communities have received information and education on how best to protect children from landmines, violence, abuse and exploitation.

Children protection in South Sudan
© UNICEF South Sudan/2008/Pirozzi
A girl carries her younger sibling on her back in Juba, capital of South Sudan.


Many challenges hinder the implementation of child protection interventions in South Sudan. For example, the limited number and capacity of professional social workers in nascent government services, with few based on the ground at state and county level, is a key constraint. Conflicts between tribal and ethnic groups continue to threaten children, while the lack of access to education, extreme poverty, a weak legal and judicial system, and an over-reliance on customary law practices makes children more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. Violence and discrimination against women and girls, which is rooted in cultural norms, traditions and practices, and the destruction of traditional community based protection mechanisms due to the civil war are all factors that continue to pose challenges in the implementation of child protection programmes.

UNICEF works in partnership with the Ministries of Gender, Child and Social Welfare, Justice and Interior, the Ministries for Social Development at state level, the South Sudan Police Service, the South Sudan Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Commission, the South Sudan Demining Authority, UNMIS Child Protection Section, UNMAO, UNDP, UNHCR and UNFPA, international and local NGOs, community-based organizations and faith based organizations



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