Children and youth of Africa protecting « children on the move »
The issue of child mobility is central to the activities of the African Movement of Children and Youth (AMWCY(1)) since its foundation in 1994, as its basic platform is based on 12 rights and aspirations(2), which include the «right to remain in the village, not to migrate» formulated at that time by Sophie, a domestic girl from the village, who expressed her reality as a girl who had to come to Dakar at the age of 10 working and living in precarious conditions with her girlfriends, instead of blooming in their homeland(3).
From 1998, this right begins to take shape in different countries in collaboration with the adult supporting structures of the AWCY in Benin, Ivory Cost , Mali, Senegal, Togo, in support to «children on the move» and in Advocacy towards the authorities.
In 2000 in Bamako, the General Assembly of AMWCY debated this law, and on the basis of experiences made in countries, emited proposals on « migration, fostering, and cross-border traffic » of children(4) : it made it one of the major axes of intervention of the AMWCY.
In 2003, the AMWCY formed a specific program that includes:
- preventive awareness-raising actions in the villages about the dangers of mobility, and ways to take precautions against (accompaniment of mobility).
- action of listening and welcome of children on the move, in places of transit and destination. Solidarity with all children, wherever they come from and whatever their difficulties, was growing within the movement « my sister, my brother, my friend, like myself »
- a cross-border network of communication between the WCY and also adults partners(5).
- the program will be coordinated by AMWCY delegates assigned to the International Office of Enda Youth in Action
In 2004, the AMWCY joined the RWOGAT (Regional Working Group Against Trafficking) that became the «Regional Mobility Group» then the «Regional Protection Group» with ENDA, IOM, ILO, Plan, Save the Children, SOS Village, SSI, TDH, UNDC , UNICEF, World Vision. It contributes actively to its reflection being the only organization directly representing the point of view of children and youth.
In 2008, it published a fundamental document resulting from a study conducted in 5 countries by 115 WCY who collected and analyzed data in 5 national workshops, and which will influence in depth the vision of the said group(6), the 5 basic concepts on child mobility are translated into 13 local languages; which leads to the questioning of some of them. The point of views of children and adults at the start and the finish are widely analyzed there. The comparative advantages of the AMWCY are also described there.
In 2011, is published a study reference and consensus between the organizations of the «regional group of mobility of children »(7).
The same year, AMWCY and ENDA actively involved on behalf of the group, in the Barcelona conference on «children on the move» and at the foundation of the «Interagency working group on children on the move » network. They published a document describing the actions for the protection of children on the move(8), and later an article on their research methodologies(9).
The cross-border strategy of the AMWCY regarding the protection of children on the move increases and the movement extends from towns and villages borders. Between AWCY of Ghana and Nigeria, later those of Sierra Leone and Liberia, and Uganda are born of contact that WCY have on each side of the border. On their usual route, they create new solidarities(10).
As support of their community awareness- raising on the dangers and risks related to the mobility of children, the WCY realized a first cartoon(11), distributed widely across the 27 member countries of the AMWCY, as well as an image box and a leaflet for those who want to move containing phones numbers to contact AWCY in the various countries.
The AMWCY was admitted in 2012 with an observer’ status to the ACERWC of the African Union, he exposes there its point of views while contributing with other partners of the «Regional Protection Group » as Save the Children, Plan and Unicef to an African lobbying strategy. In 2013 started an action in cooperation with the «Regional Protection Group » with ECOWAS to include a chapter on « child mobility » in its strategy towards childhood. Late 2014, a delegate of the AMWCY was invited to the regional workshop on the protection of the ECOWAS.During the year 2014, the AMWCY finalized a three-step process of research on the protection, by publishing a manual on the protection of children (including those on the move), so as to equip the AWCY methodological training reference tools(12).
All these years the working Children and Youth were present in the solidarity action, and also in the thought (reflection) alongside the other actors concerned by « children on the move».
1 http://www.maejt.org/page%20anglais/documents/Doc%202015/Flyer_AMWCY.doc 2 The 12 rights of the WCY. Right to: stay in the village (not to go “into exodus”), practice our activities safely, be respected, to be listened to, to have fun, to play, a light and limited work, health care, rest disease, a training to learn a trade, learn to read and to write, to express and to organize themselves, an appeal and to a fair justice, in case of problems. 3 See also « the 12 rights of the AMWCY, legal foundation of claim platform or instrument of development? « , Dakar – jeuda 104 – Enda 2000, 27 pages. 4 « Migrations, fostering and child trafficking in Africa », Dakar – jeuda 106, Enda 2000, 23 pages. 5 « Early migration and child trafficking in West Africa », Dakar – jeuda 111/112, Enda 2004,
111 pages : http://maejt.org/pdfs/jeuda_111_112.pdf
« Mobile Children from victims into actors », Dakar – jeuda 119, Enda 2008, 83 pages. http://www.maejt.org/page%20anglais/pdfs/jeuda119_2english.pdf
7 « What protection for African children on the Move » Regional Mobility Group, Dakar 2011 http://www.maejt.org/page%20anglais/pdfs/Protecting_children_on_the_move.pdf 8
« Protection of mobile children by organized children and youth » – jeuda 123, Enda, 2011, 23 p.
« children on the move a different voice » article of Moussa Haoruna and Fabrizio Terenzio on research methodologies, in IOM 2013, 12 pages
10 « Routes(itinerary) to Success »?, Dakar – jeuda 121, Enda 2011, 47 pages. http://maejt.org/French%20Zone%20Media%20Publications.htm 11 « Tounga, it can happen to you », Dakar 2011, 13 minutes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8X_f7Inm_4&feature=youtu.be 12
« Child Protection Manual by AWCY », Dakar- jeuda 126, Enda 2014, 99 pages