Children have an inherent and universal right to a life free from violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect. Yet today, more than one billion children – about half of the world’s children – experience violence every year.
All citizens, including children, must be able to hold their governments accountable to their protection obligations. Yet, in most parts of the world, children have no voice, no platform, no access to recourse, and no opportunities to be meaningfully engaged in decisions that affect their lives or their safety.
At ChildFund, we believe children themselves can contribute to reducing violence against children when they have the knowledge, skills, and support needed to hold local authorities responsible for upholding their duties.
With this in mind, and with the support of a grant from the Oak Foundation, ChildFund Alliance in 2017 launched our Child-friendly Accountability Methodology to provide children and their communities with a safe means to monitor the child protection systems and hold governments and local leaders accountable to their obligations to end violence against children, as per SDG Target 16.2.
Child-friendly Accountability Initiative
Child-friendly Accountability is an ambitious and successful program that is helping children ages 13-17 to participate meaningfully in making certain that those charged with protecting and fulfilling their rights actually do what they are supposed to do. If they do not, or cannot, children and their representatives must have some recourse.
The program is not only about giving children a voice; it requires that children and young people are able to participate in identifying problems and solutions. Since launching our initiative in four pilot countries, ChildFund Alliance has since improved the Methodology, Field Manual, Toolkit and web-based platform to educate and provide children with the knowledge and skills needed to improve child protection in their own communities.
Pathways of Change
Child-friendly Accountability is contributing to strengthening child protection, and to preventing violence, through three pathways of change.
- Child-friendly Accountability is helping duty bearers strengthen formal and informal child protection systems by providing children and their communities with the guidance and facilitation to monitor, assess, and improve existing child protection systems in a safe and collaborative way.
- Child-friendly Accountability is contributing to social change by supporting the transformation of negative social norms, customs and practices that permit violence against children.
- Child-friendly Accountability is providing children and their communities with a means by which they can hold duty bearers accountable to their obligations under international law and the SDGs.
Progress to Date
ChildFund Alliance initially targeted reaching 2,500 children in at least 10 countries where members of the Alliance have ongoing programs. To date, we have reached an estimated 8,000 children across nine countries in hundreds of project locations. These include schools and communities in collaboration with local partners who are implementing our methodology. Currently, ChildFund is implementing the program in Burkina Faso, El Salvador, India, Mexico, Nepal, Paraguay, South Korea- Seoul, Tanzania, and Uganda. By developing online materials, providing technical support and guidance, and leading training sessions to core staff in the field, ChildFund Alliance can help countries adapt and integrate Child-friendly Accountability Methodology into current and ongoing programs and projects and give the world’s children a voice in decisions that affect their lives and safety.