Our main aim within our advocacy work is to strengthen community protection mechanisms to combat and prevent child abuse in two wards in Mwanza. We work to carry out effective training to the child protection committees, community actors, leaders, peer educators and community volunteers, facilitating regular meetings between these groups.
We also help these groups in collecting a clear detailed record of all cases reported and the outcomes of these cases to show the level of impact the collaborative effort is creating within these areas, using our referral systems for these youth and children to be included into our programmes where appropriate, as well as helping with the referral to other suitable organisations.
We are a part of the Integrated Response for Street Children in Mwanza. This network ensures that regular information and details are shared between the main actors working with children living or working on the streets in Mwanza. The network consists of Railway Children and their project Kivuko, Upendo Daima and COET. We discuss, as a network the best and most effective strategies to address the problem of street children, challenges that we face and ways in which we can support each other ensuring that efforts are not duplicated.
We work very closely with Social Welfare through each aspect of our work, working with both the City Council department for Social Welfare and Community Development, and the regional offices of social welfare reporting to the central government. We ensure that we follow their systems and receive confirmation from them through each transition of each child either moving to the centre or moving back to their homes. At ward and district level, we ensure collaboration with Social Welfare Officers and community “para-social workers” who are put in place by the government in our community and reunification work.
Additionally, we are a part of the district child protection team which is made up of actors from the social welfare, police, schools, hospitals and NGOS so that we have a forum to work towards a holistic approach in the community to ensuring higher quality child protection systems.
Child Rights Watch (formerly COET) has been a partner of Railway Children since 2011 responding to children on the streets, in which the partnership has substantial experience in designing and implementing programmes to provide support to these beneficiaries. COET is an implementing partner for the 2014-2016 DFID GPAF grant providing reintegration services for children on the streets in Mwanza, Tanzania. We are currently in Year 3 of the DFID GPAF grant. In Year 2, COET alongside the partnership (RCA-Kivuko, and UpendoDaima) managed to reunify 124 children (123M:1F) aged between 7-14 years; 78% of the children remained at home. As a network we also provided medical care to 295 children on the streets which included basic first aid care, referrals to medical clinics and also referral to hospitals in response to medical emergencies that the children faced while living on the streets.