From the 4th to the 8th of November 2019 was held the first Pilot Group of the African Region. This meeting was co-organised by the regional coordinator of Africa, Moussa Sow from the Senegal, by Walid Bouchmila, coordinator of the Tunisian platform member of the network, and by the technical team that ensures the international coordination from Brussels.
The Pilot Group brought together 9 countries* of the African region among which:
- Ghana (in the process of membership)
- Ivory Coast (in the process of membership)
- Democratic Republic of Congo
*A representative of the Central African Republic was supposed to come but he could not leave his country because of a visa problem
During the first two days, exchange workshops and trainings to social street work were carried out with Tunisians workers and other workers from all over the African region. The objective was to favour peer exchange around three main work themes: violence committed against children, psychosocial support to vulnerable children and methodology in street work. Participative workshops were organised, based on practices exchange.
Two plenary presentations were given:
- A workshop presented from a law perspective on the rights of children in street situation(following the elaboration of the general observation n°21) by Eva Gangneux from “Defence for Children International”.
- A workshop regarding psychosocial aspects in link with violence committed towards childrenby Ben Mansour Hayet, who is a psychologist and a social street worker in Tunisia.
Recommendations for Tunisians authorities and instances have emerged during these two days and had the occasion to be presented during an advocacy day on the Wednesday 6th of November at the Hôtel du Parc in Tunis.
The main recommendations concerned:
- The elaboration of a national strategy in terms of social street workand in particular the establishment of a specialised module in social street work and the recognising of a legal status,
- The establishment of a synergistic mechanism for interministerial coordination,
- The elaboration of a national strategy for the protection of children in street situation.
Various representatives of the children protection’s sector were present such as Mihyar Hammadi, general delegate to children protection and Mourad Hmaied, from the observatory of information, training, documentation and study for children protection.
Different presentations were also given, especially concerning the establishment of trainings in social street work recognised by the State; the global study regarding the situation of children deprived from their liberty; the various Tunisian initiatives in favour of children in situation of great vulnerability, in particular children who are victim of traffic and abuses of all kind.
Finally the week ended with the actual Pilot Group of the African Region.
Discussions were about:
- Currentstate of affairs in each country and reflexion about members’ status.
- Study of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the African Region.
- Elaboration of a regional plan of action.
- Mobilisation for the Forum “Words from the Street” 2020.
The main planned activities will concern:
- Exchanges and field visitsbetween countries to favour peer learning, especially regarding the issue of talibé children under extreme influence of extreme Islam in Senegal and violent extremism in general.
- An advocacy campaignensuring the visibility of children in street situation (activities will take place in different countries during the African Child International Day on the 16th of June).
- Coordination meetingsvia WhatsApp have been planned every two months.
The gathering for the Pilot Group was a chance to bind together members of the African Region, to fuel an already strong feeling of belonging, and to determine common objectives, that are achievable on short and mid-term… A real success!
Coordinator for the Social Street Workers International Network