Children in Adversity Update
Issue 12 – September 2015

Retrak: Making the Invisible Visible: Counting Street Children on the Streets of Malawi

On July 28, 2015, the CPC Learning Network hosted a webinar featuring Joanna Wakia, monitoring and research advisor at Retrak, Charles Gwengwe, Executive Director at Chisomo Children's Club, and Mr. McKnight Kalanda, Director of Child Affairs in the Malawi Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability, and Social Welfare. Very little evidence exists about the numbers of children living and working on the streets globally, undermining efforts to ensure they receive adequate and appropriate care.

In order to inform policy and practice in Malawi, Retrak, Chisomo Children's Club, and the Government of Malawi undertook an enumeration study of children on the streets in Lilongwe and Blantyre, using the capture/recapture methodology. The presenters shared the initial results and discussed implications for interventions in Malawi and future research steps.

Photo of boys from Cambodia

News of Note

Sustainable Development Goals Announcement

The UN General Assembly will be holding a summit for the adoption of the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in New York on the September 25–27. The SDGs are a proposed set of targets relating to future international development. They will replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which expire at the end of 2015.

While there has been progress toward achieving the MGDs during the last 15 years, there is still a lot that needs to be done to improve the situation of children in particular. For example, between 2000 and 2015, the number of children out of school declined by almost half. However, there are still 57 million children who are denied the right to primary education. Furthermore, while the mortality rate for children under five dropped by 53 percent between 1990 and 2015, child deaths continue to be increasingly concentrated in the poorest regions and in the first month of life.

The SDGs were first formally discussed at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development held in Brazil in June 2012. There are 17 Sustainable Development Goals with 169 targets that aim to address the root causes of poverty. The Sustainable Development Goals are the result of a negotiation process that involved the 193 UN Member States and also had substantial participation of civil society and other stakeholders.

UNICEF and several child focused non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including ChildFund, World Vision, Plan International, Save the Children, and SOS Children's Villages, were among the civil society stakeholders that contributed. Their focus was specifically on strengthening the language of the goals and targets related to the prevention and response to violence against children.

The SDGs will start in January 2016 and are expected to be achieved by December 2030. The SDGs and targets will be monitored and reviewed using a set of global indicators. The global indicator framework, to be developed by the Inter Agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators, will be agreed on by the UN Statistical Commission by March 2016.

Updates on the Action Plan for Children in Adversity

Objective 1: Build Strong Beginnings

Three mothers with their babies.

A Good Start: Advances in Early Childhood Development

Early childhood development is critical to the long-term success of families, communities, countries, and a peaceful and sustainable world. Today, it is estimated that 200 million children under age five are not reaching their development potential, creating long lasting social and economic consequences that stand in the way of achieving prosperity and economic development. Increasing evidence, detailed within this report published by the Bernard van Leer Foundation, conveys the urgency to increase investment in young children and families in order to create better outcomes for the current and future generations.

Objective 2: Put Family Care First

.A young boy from Malawi smiles at the camera.

Household Economic Strengthening in Support of Prevention of Family and Child Separation

Millions of children in low-and middle-income countries live outside of family care or in situations in which the ability of the family to remain together is at risk. This paper prepared by FHI 360 summarizes learning related to prevention of family-child separation, reintegration of children in family care, and economic interventions that might support these aims.

Asia's Orphanage Industry Worth Millions

Southeast Asia is in the grip of a boom in orphanages, many of them unlicensed, with no safety checks, few real orphans, and subject to growing concern about neglect and abuse. Between 2005 and 2010, there was a 75 percent increase in the number of registered orphanages in Cambodia, and since then, hundreds more have sprung up. Most of these orphanages are financed by private donations, and despite a lack of transparency about their accounts, it is estimated that residential care is now a multimillion dollar industry, which the government is struggling to reform.

Ending Institutionalization of Children

It is estimated that there are more than 8 million children worldwide growing up outside of family care in orphanages or other large institutions. This is especially detrimental for early childhood development according to Ann Berens and Charles Nelson of Harvard University who found that children in institutional care exhibit growth suppression, IQ deficits, and impaired brain, social-emotional, and psychological development in comparison with non-institutionalized children. However, evidence suggests that children removed from institutions to foster care or adoption in the first months or years of life can recover from these developmental setbacks.

From Orphanages to Families

The LUMOS Foundation released a video narrated by J.K. Rowling to raise awareness of the 8 million children separated from families, living in orphanages and institutions around the world. The film highlights why children need families to grow and develop, and argues that the problem of institutionalization of children is solvable.

Objective 3: Protect Children from Violence, Exploitation, Abuse and Neglect

Photo of two children from Uganda.

The Good School Toolkit for Reducing Physical Violence from School Staff to Primary School Students: A Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial in Uganda

Exposure to physical violence in childhood is widespread and associated with increased risk of depressive disorders and suicide attempts, poor educational attainment, and increased risk of perpetrating or experiencing intimate partner violence in later relationships. Violence against children from school staff is especially prevalent, but few assessments of interventions to reduce this violence in low- and middle-income countries exist. This report published in The Lancet details the use of the Good School Toolkit as an effective intervention to reduce violence against children from school staff in Ugandan schools.

Funding Opportunity

U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs Announces $6 Million to Reduce the Worst Forms of Child Labor in Paraguay

On July 28, 2015, the Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB), U.S. Department of Labor, announced the availability of approximately $6 million for one or more cooperative agreements to fund a technical assistance project(s) in Paraguay to support efforts to reduce the worst forms of child labor (WFCL) and improve labor law compliance, with a particular focus on the Department of Guairá. The project will provide technical assistance to support Paraguay's newly established Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security (MTESS) to strengthen its organizational capacity, particularly that of its labor inspectorate, to enforce child labor laws, improve working conditions with regards to minimum wage and hours of work violations, and develop employment training opportunities for vulnerable populations, including a focus on rural adolescent girls.

For additional grant opportunities from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of International Labor Affairs please visit:

  1. Assessing Progress in Reducing Child Labor in Cocoa Growing Areas of Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana
  2. Project to Reduce Child Labor in Côte d'Ivoire's Cocoa Growing Areas
  3. Project to Mobilize Community Action and Promote Opportunities for Youth in Ghana's Cocoa Growing Communities
  4. Partnership to Reduce Child Labor and Forced Labor in Imported Agricultural Products
  5. Project to Reduce Child Labor and Improve Working Conditions in Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining

FY 2016 USDA Food Solicitation Announcement

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is now accepting applications for the 2016 Food for Progress and McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Programs. Organizations eligible to apply include foreign governments, inter-governmental organizations, private voluntary organizations, cooperatives, and non-governmental organizations. The application submission deadline is October 14, 2015

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