Joining Forces to Rehabilitate Vulnerable Children
19 November 2015
Rehabilitating and restoring the lives of vulnerable children in conflict with the law and street children
Rehabilitating and restoring the lives of vulnerable children in conflict with the law and street children. That is the purpose of the partnership UNODC launched with Salesians of Don Bosco and the Italian NGO International Volunteer Service for Development (VIS) on 19 November in Addis Ababa.
The partnership will give a second chance to children released from detention, who are vulnerable to go on to commit further crimes. It will work, at the same time, to keep street children from being swayed by adults and older peers into criminal activities and ending up being detained. To achieve that, UNODC, Don Bosco and VIS announced that they will tackle the problem on all fronts.
To promote social reintegration of the children into the community, they will provide education and vocational trainings, coupled with full-time care, shelter and psychosocial support. They will also handle reunification of children with their families as well as assistance with employment in Addis Ababa and in the provincial towns of Zway and Gambella.
Moreover, trainings will also be targeted to social workers, teachers and other staff involved in the rehabilitation of young offenders and vulnerable children.
This landmark collaboration is part of UNODC’s efforts to team up with relevant actors and institutions in Ethiopia to protect children in conflict with the law and bolster the justice for children system.
To date, UNODC has been working hand in hand with the Child Justice Project Office of the Federal Supreme Court. And it has provided technical advice and assistance to the Remand and Rehabilitation Centre in Addis Ababa in different ways - identifying the needs of the Centre and making recommendations to improve its conditions of confinement in line with international standards; developing a curriculum for the centre’s staff, and training them in dealing with children in conflict with the law, among other activities.
Building on that experience and in order to make the partnership successful, Jose Vila del Castillo, UNODC’s Regional Representative for Eastern Africa, made a call to create “a network that brings on the table civil society organizations like Don Bosco, government partners like the Remand and Rehabilitation Centre and judges working with child offenders.”
And he added: “We need to help the Ethiopian Government to prevent children from ending up abandoned on the streets and assist those who were already detained; and to that end, coordination among authorities and civil society organizations will be pivotal.”
The project is supported by the Governments of Sweden and the Netherlands.