Children are the hidden victims of the health crisis caused by COVID-19, facing threats to their wellbeing and protection as a result of the increased risks of violence and abuse.
‘Joining Forces for Africa (JOFA) – Protecting Children from Violence during the COVID-19 Crisis and beyond’ seeks to reduce the levels of violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect that children and adolescents experience. The project works with families, communities and institutions to raise awareness and improve capacity to protect children.
JOFA strengthens local and national child protection systems while working with families, communities and institutions to raise awareness and improve capacity to protect children. Joining Forces supports children’s right to be heard on their needs and hopes for recovery and response plans. It promotes child-led initiatives and campaigns.
The objective of Joining Forces for Africa is to reduce the levels of violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect that children and adolescents experience. More precisely, the programme aims to
- strengthen national and local protection and response systems
- improve the protection of children
- increase the capacity of children to prevent and respond to violence against them
- increase the understanding and knowledge of best practices on child protection
Across all five countries participating in the programme, the JOFA project contributes to the key objectives of the programme, to secure children’s rights and to end violence against them.
The programme is in line with the ambitions set in the Education 2030 Agenda, an essential part of the Sustainable Development Goals (Agenda 2030) agreed by the United Nations member states to counter poverty, inequality, climate change, conflicts and other pressing challenges of our time.
JOFA works with existing child clubs and child participation platforms to support child led initiatives and advocacy campaigns. The implementation method for Joining Forces for Africa has been designed to respond to the needs of children in a holistic way and is built on evidence-based best practices in the child protection sector.
The programme adopts a child protection system strengthening approach, which recognizes that a range of people, processes, laws, institutions, capacities and behaviours are involved in protecting children. As the situation changes rapidly, so do children’s needs. For this reason, listening to children and involving them in identifying problems and solutions is a key element of the project.
Children benefiting from and participating in the programme live in refugee camps and host communities, in urban informal settlements, conflict affected areas, poor rural communities or in transit border areas. For these children, the closure of schools and the loss of their and their families’ livelihoods is increasing the risk of physical and sexual violence and exploitation.
The implementing countries were selected based on a high risk of negative impacts due to the COVID-19 crisis as well as high needs for child protection. The long-term presence of Joining Forces agencies in the project countries is an opportunity for strong collaboration and joint activities.
The goal is that throughout the project 438 812 children benefit from direct participation in project activities, over 3 305 child protection service providers and 28 199 parents and caregivers are supported, and 4 745 teachers receive training.
Geographical coverage: Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Senegal, Uganda
Budget: €10 771 486
Implementing partners: A consortium of Joining Forces member agencies: Child Fund Alliance, Plan International, Save the Children, SOS Children’s Villages, Terre des Hommes and World Vision