PROGRESS IN MODELLING CHILD PROTECTION SERVICES IN ARUSHA – 2015

CCR is supporting the Arusha City Council to model a child protection system that is sustainable and replicable and that illustrates the policy of decentralisation in action.

We have been working with the Arusha City Council to

  • Support professional development programmes directed at frontline workers, managers and supervisors responsible for delivering child protection services.
  • Equip representatives from Arusha LGA to lobby for funding for child protection services, lead child protection services and ensure performance. And to
  • Pilot, evaluate and improve a one-stop centre and program of after-care for children who are victims of violence.

Better protection of children. 

In 2015 momentum has been built in helping people who are already protecting children to do so better and to take decisions that are in children’s best interests.

  • 64 professionals were trained in the extent and impact of the law, their responsibilities under the Law of the Child, about child development, case management and about how to facilitate change.
  • CCRs community now has 1,744 members who commit to taking action to protect children from harm.
  • We also have 4,416 people engaging with us and the issue of doing the right thing via Facebook [1315], Whats App [100], Twitter [455], Youtube [250], Kesho Cafe [73], CCR’s online community forum [256], Champions [11], and CCRs newsletter [1,908].
  • 9 Kesho cafes were held where 73 protectors came together to explore the dilemmas that they face when they take action to protect children.
  • Our SMS surveys in 2014/15 revealed that 420 actions were taken to protect children and 128 public servants were witnessed protecting children.
  • 11 champions were recruited. They will be equipped in 2016 to go out and facilitate Kesho Cafes with people who currently say, “It’s none of my business” when they seechild suffer, and in doing so hopefully transform these people into first time protectors.

The audience for Kesho Café is people who identify as protectors of children, and need to build an improvisational toolbox that enables them to better protect children. Many of these people are current or potential members of the CCR community.

The design of the cafes stems from the questions that are faced by protectors in the moment of taking action, and that were identified in Dr. McAlpine’s study of the worldview of protectors (McAlpine, 2015).

In the Cafes we consider a series of seven questions that protectors face as they take action to protect children. The facilitator conveys information about CCR’s research so that protectors learn new knowledge about the extent and impact of violence against children and about child development. We use story telling, games and dialogue to enable participants to take up new perspectives and see new realities. This in turn helps them to resolve the moral dilemmas that they face more effectively. Protectors build new skills, and find fellowship with others. Our ambition is that protectors grow and take actions that are in the best interests of children.

In 2015 protectors inquired into the following dilemmas during Kesho Cafes

  • Am I primed to hear when a child is suffering or do I say, “It’s none of my business”?
  • Does my intuition tell me to get involved when I see a child suffer?
  • How do I calm the overheated emotions of those surrounding a suffering child?
  • What questions do we need to ask to discover the truth of the situation facing the child?

In 2016 the remainder of the Kesho Cafe sequence will be designed and prototyped. This will involve supporting protectors to inquire into the following questions:

  • How do I tap into those who are willing to help me and persuade the blockers to support me?
  • What is in the best interests of the child?
  • In what role can I be of most help to this child?

As a result of these interventions participants described feeling sorrow that they had parented as they had in the past purely as a result of their ignorance. They described the optimism that they felt at being able to share practical new child-caring techniques with other parents. They spoke of their renewed passion for learning and their own growth.

Barriers to better protection were revealed in a recent SMS survey, where people explained that parent’s behaviour, a lack of community cooperation and people’s limited knowledge of child rights all inhibit their ability to keep children safe from harm.

Children reported in our analysis of the experience of being a child in Unga Ltd Arusha, that they are punished, and in turn that they often harm other children. Many spoke of living far away from their parents in inconsistent childcare arrangements. In spite of the challenges that they face children explained that they are inspired when they get opportunities to participate in out of school activities or child rights clubs, and they try to self improve.

The financing of child protection services in Arusha.

In 2015 CCR conducted an in-depth analysis to cost Arusha’s city child protection plan and to turn these aspirations into a five-year costed plan, with targets, beneficiary breakdowns and a work plan, that can be integrated easily into the city’s budget. This was a notable technical input in support of the city’s economist, and was complemented by ongoing sensitisation of both the outgoing and incoming city councillors, who approve or reject any city budget. In 2015 CCR planned 23 deliverables and implemented 18 of them.

The costing exercise revealed that it would cost a mere $55 to respond to a child who has been a victim of harm if all the envisaged child protection services were in place. The total annual investment in child protection services for Arusha is estimated to be $185,000.

In 2015 the city drew on its recurrent revenue to either hire or redeploy much needed social workers. In May 14 were in the employ of the city. The recruitment target in the costed city plan is to have three social workers at the city offices and two in the wards. This means that in spite of the city not yet resourcing a one-stop centre they are at least exceeding this target.

In spite of all the groundwork and the fact that $12,500 was allocated to the one-stop centre in the 2015 budget this money was siphoned off by the City Director to pay for the establishment of secondary school laboratories under instruction from central government. The result that where was zero additional expenditure on child protection services in addition to that being spent on social worker salaries.

There is evidence from the situation in Zanzibar that the key factor in turning talk about a one-stop centre into action was the sense of urgency felt by individuals within the public service who pushed the initiative through. There is a growing sense of urgency amongst many councillors and public servants in Arusha; but they recognise that they will need hand-holding, evidence, information and technical support if they are to effectively make a case to their peers for a budget for child protection. This is particularly so when that budget will in have to be funded from the city’s own sources of income, rather from a donor grant or central government funds.

Establishing a one-stop centre for victims of abuse. 

A building owned by the council has been identified as a location for the one-stop centre and is currently being reallocated to serve this function.

Procedures for managing the cases of victims of abuse have been developed with the city social workers.

The staffing needs and numbers for integrated child protection services have been identified.

We have high profile champions for the one-stop centre within the city councillors who have taken up this cause.

The Chadema Party Secretary in Arusha argues that two aspects have to be harnessed if they are to govern effectively. Individual councillors need to evolve into servant leaders, whilst tangible change is delivered in terms of services to constituents.

Levolosi Councillor and CCR champion, Hon Nanyaro recommends that since the council is now opening its meetings to public scrutiny and is keen to be seen responding to popular demand. CCR should get a petition going demanding a child protection budget and seeking signatures at our public meetings. We should encourage people to attend council meetings and express their demand for child protection services. He asks, “If we walk for elephants, why don’t we walk for children?” He insists that it critical that CCR create demand for child protection services that the council can be seen to respond to. He recommends that we call upon people to SMS their councillors demanding services for children, and use the local FM stations to broadcast both CCR’s old Tuko Tayari shows and also a jingle calling on people to demand a child protection budget.

The national and local elections, held in October, were both a roadblock to achieving our goals and yet present CCR with an opportunity. During the extensive preparation for the election and actual campaign it was impossible to find anyone in city hall who would participate in any activity, let alone make decisions with financial or political implications.

Chadema overwhelmingly won the local elections and now hold 25 of the 26 seats in the council. Whilst they dominate the council each councillor comes with specific ward level or personal agendas, and we are not yet at the point where we can assert 100% council commitment to implementing the city child protection plan.

Finally, there is already evidence that the new council is committed to removing under-performing public servants and replacing them with people who have an execution mind-set. The result is that many of the individual politicians and officials that CCR has worked with in the past will be moving away from duties.

The main obstacles that CCR has faced in effecting progress in the delivery of child protection services include:

1. Arusha’s reliance on its local own sources of income. With regards to child protection the council is planning to fund this out of their own revenue, rather than doing battle with central government. However, since June 2015 central government failed to send any development income to the city and thus the city’s own pool of income is being depleted as it strives to cover this shortfall. The Government is broke.

2. Community development and child protection continue to be conflated in the city budget and in city systems, staffing and processes. Where funds have been allocated for child protection in the city budget they are hidden in the wider budget of the community development department. This is the reason why despite the allocation of funds they were pilfered for the school laboratory initiative. The community development department does not have an interest nor the capacity to defend the child protection budget.

Pushing the child protection agenda in the city continues to feel like we are actors in Groundhog Day.  Every year it feels like we are on the brink of a breakthrough and yet we continue to move one step forward and two backwards. We hope with the rise of Chadema locally that we may shift this dynamic in 2016. Our reasoning for optimism is this:

  • The local party secretary for Chadema has expressed an interest in the child protection agenda becoming a party agenda. We are exploring opportunities for Dr. McAlpine to be of service to the councillors in piloting a initiative with them that uses the principles of human development, narrative therapy and integral activism to build their capacity to govern in the interests of women and children.
  • There is finally recognition within the planning department and the Chair of the Social Services Committee that the costing of child protection services should stand separately within the budget and not be conflated with community development.
  • Dr. McAlpine is spending more time in Dar es Salaam and has the energy to start sensitising personnel in the ministry of finance about the need for a child protection budget code and the costs of the services so that ultimately these are being paid by central government. This is supported by a wider acknowledgement amongst all child protection actors that financing of child protection is becoming the critical issue (UNICEF meeting, 3 Feb 16). If this does not happen a situation will arise whereby child protection services become a luxury afforded only by well-off districts of those that can access donor funding. Child protection is an entitlement and this sort of inequity would be an indictment of all of our efforts.

Finally, CCR is partnering with Worldwide Network for Gender Empowerment – Fielding Graduate University, International School Moshi – Arusha campus, and Orkeeswa School for Masai to prototype a transformative experience with young people that enables them to take action to protect themselves and their peers. This intervention should have a number of positive outcomes. Young people will move from identifying as victims to becoming agents of their own development and of their community. Young people will start to publicly demand an investment in child protection services and they will learn the skills to become responsible actors who do the right thing and enable Africa to rise.