UN Nations Unies
Bureau Régional pour l’Afrique de l’Ouest

The Gambia launches PAPEV phase two project

31 janvier 2024
The Gambia launches PAPEV phase two project©
The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare in The Gambia, on Thursday 18th January launched the phase 2 of the Project to Support the Protection of Children Victims of Rights Violations - PAPEV. The Project is financed by the Italian Development Cooperation Agency (AICS) in Dakar and managed by the Office of the High Commission for Human rights (OHCHR) West Africa Regional Office in Dakar.

The Project is a follow up to the PAPEV Phase 1 which was implemented from 2019 to 2022. The key beneficiaries of the PAPEV Project include children living in streets, children living in Care settings, child beggars, children in contact with the law as well as the structures and care givers that host the children.

The Project is implemented in The Gambia, Senegal, Guinea Conakry, Mali and Guinea Bissau and work with government Agencies and Civil Society to support strengthen the child protection system of the implementing countries.

Prior to the launching of the Project, the Regional Representative for OHCHR WARO took the opportunity whilst in The Gambia to meet with partners, collaborators and institutions that protect the rights and welfare of children victims of rights violations in The Gambia. These include the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, UN Agencies, The Office of the Inspector General of Police, the National Assembly Select Committee on Health, Women, Children, Disaster, Humanitarian Relief and Refugees, the National Assembly select committee on Human Rights and Constitutional Matters, the National Human Rights Commission. Visits were also made to facilities that host disadvantaged children such as the Methodist Special School, the Juvenile Prison, and the Bakoteh Shelter for Children. The purpose for these meeting was to exchange with these institutions about the PAPEV Project and share ideas on how to strengthen collaboration.

The colorful launching ceremony was graced by Honorable Madam Fatou Kinteh, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, representative of the Directorate of Children’s Affairs, the Regional Representative of OHCHR West Africa Office in Senegal Mr Robert Kotchani, the Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Mr Emmanuel Joof, The Acting UN Resident Coordinator Dr Desta Tiruneh and representatives from UN Agencies, child protection activists and Children’s Organizations.

Speeches during the opening ceremony pointed out several child rights violations in The Gambia as well as numerous interventions by the government and partners to promote the rights and welfare of children in The Gambia. Nearly all the statements alluded to The Gambia having a robust legislative framework for children which is aligned with regional and international legal instruments for the protection of children but needed more effort to enforce the implementation of the policies.
In her statement, the Honourable Minister acknowledged that the protection of children requires the effort and commitment from everyone. We cannot leave it to the state alone, neither can we leave it to the schools or parents. Ensuring that children’s rights are promoted and protected requires the collective effort of everyone ; policy makers, lawyers, teachers, parents. Child protection is everyone’s business.”

Investing in children and their protection is one sure way for governments to safeguard their most important resource – children” stated Mr Robert Kotchani. He further urged We must do all we can, to ensure that the laws protecting and promoting the rights of children are popularised, understood and enforced”.
Both the honourable Minister of Gender, Children and Social Welfare and The OHCHR Regional Representative committed to supporting the protection and welfare of children in The Gambia.

The launching ceremony was followed up by the installation and meeting of the PAPEV Project Steering Committee established to support the management of the project.