Child Protection

Given the chronic state of conflict and disasters in Somalia, children remain vulnerable to ongoing violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect. Save the Children implements child protection programs in Puntland, South Central Somalia and Somaliland. Our overall approach is to provide a range of integrated services through sustainable humanitarian and development programming which enhances both government and community ownership.

Save the Children International Programmes Director, Imran Matin, in conversation with a group of girls in Borama primary school in Somaliland during his last visit to Somaliland/Somalia. Photo Mowlid Mudan | Save the Children

We deliver routine child protection services, such as counseling, case management, promoting children’s development and wellbeing, as well as building the capacity of communities to prevent and respond to incidents of abuse at community level. Our programmes also focus on building the resilience of children and developing their capacities to deal with the potential risks and hazards they face.

Somalia/Somaliland Country Office has supported the establishment of functional referral mechanisms. In 2015, a total of 878 children (405 boys, 473 girls) were supported through referral and response mechanisms established by community-based child welfare committees. A total of 1,132 (753 females, 379 male) service providers, local government officials, teachers, social workers were trained on CP areas (identification of vulnerable children, use of referral pathways, documentation and record keeping). An estimated total of 86,161 community members (13,174 males, 18,441 females, 27,853 boys, 26,693 girls) were reached.

In 2015, Save the Children launched family tracing and reunification interventions in response to the Yemen refugee crisis in CSS and Puntland, and also undertook interventions focused on the prevention of Child, Early and Forced Marriage (CEFM) and Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in Puntland and Somaliland. We worked with the government in Somaliland and Puntland to promulgate laws and policies that protect children from the many forms of violence and abuse they experience.

In 2016, we aim to scale up our low-cost, high-impact interventions to hard-to-reach areas of the country, and to ensure that the most deprived children benefit from our well-tailored programs. We will continue to advocate with the government, donors, religious and community leaders, communities, and children as the key target groups for improved access to preventative and responsive child protection services. Our efforts to address harmful practices such as CEFM, FGM/C, and physical and humiliating punishment (PHP) in schools will be expanded, whilst leveraging our successes achieved in the past years in interventions that actively involve children in matters that affect them.  Backed by a clearly articulated global ambition (Ambition 2030), Save the Children Somalia/Somaliland will continuously seek to design programmes that ensure violence against children is no longer tolerated.

Key Child Protection Projects

  • Prevention of Child, Early and Forced Marriage in Somaliland: This project aims to achieve enhanced government capacity to develop and enforce legal and policy frameworks that prevent early marriage, including certification and code of conduct for traditional marriage ceremony providers, and training for law enforcement officials at regional and national level; enhance the capacity and knowledge of communities, including religious/traditional leaders, community-based structures and women lobbying groups to prevent and protect children from early marriage; and children are empowered to fight against early marriage.
  • Accelerating change towards zero tolerance of Female Genital Mutilation: Following a successful pilot (2014 -15), Save the Children, in collaboration with the Norwegian Church Aid, is embarking on a five year project (2016-20) which aims to build the knowledge and capacity of religious/community leaders, community member (girls, boys, women and men) and community-based organisations to promote zero tolerance and take actions to end FGM/C; support local partners and civil society organisations to influence governments to adopt and implement FGM policies, laws and budgets; support the government and law enforcement bodies to enforce FGM policy and law; and provide medical, basic counseling and other psychosocial support to girls and young women who have undergone FGM/C.
  • Child Friendly Spaces and services for vulnerable, separated and unaccompanied children: For the past five years Save the Children has been successfully implementing an integrated program that focuses on protecting the rights of displaced children living in IDP camps in Puntland. This approach consists of three core components focusing on education in emergencies (EiE), child protection (CP) and disaster risk reduction (DRR) in four child friendly spaces in Garowe and Bossaso IDP camps, reaching 2,500 children annually. In response to the Yemen crisis, we have reached over 10,000 returnee and refugee children with structured psychosocial support sessions, emergency kits, and family tracing and reunification services.

Key Partners
Partnerships are a key element in our Child Protection approach. Save the Children Somalia/Somaliland implements its projects in partnership with local and national NGOs - Tadamun Social Society (TASS); Somali Peace Line (SPL); Horn of Africa Voluntary Youth Committees (HAYOCO), YOVENCO, Nagaad Network – and the government - Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Ministry of Women and Development Affairs.