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With its observer status granted in 2014, ISS has submitted its activity report outlining its work in the African region via its members, general secretariat and with regional partners. The report shows the breadth of the network's expertise in terms of casework management, technical assistance via law reform, training and evaluation missions.
In addition to this work, special projects such as "A better future is possible" with regards to children with disabilities living in residential care facilities, and the West Africa Network project working with children on the move, likewise showcase the network's know how with those living in particularly vulnerable situations. The ISS network looks forward to continued collaboration with ACERWC to help better protect African children. The report is available in English and French.
ISS is pleased to share the recent statement carried out by Mrs Fazila Jeewa-Daureeawoo, the Mauritian Child Protection Minister on the importance of family based care.
"The place of a child is not in a shelter* but in a family". Recently, she has set up a committee aiming at creating a special cell to review the situation of the children living in the 20 shelters in Mauritius. This initiative is in line with the ISS recommendations delivered to the Mauritian government in the framework of its project "A better future is possible" for children with special needs separated from their families.
(*residential care institutions for children)
Further to current issues being raised by the adoption of children by superstars, ISS wishes to recall the basic ethical and international standards which should safeguard the rights of the adopted child. ISS would like to ensure that all adoptions are "super" for the child. Superstars are in a unique position to reflect (or not) ethical practices, leading by example. This advocacy note has been prepared to encourage truly super superstar adoptions.
Workshop on results of phase 1 with MOLISA, the 4 Vietnamese trainers, representative of the 8 partners residential care institution, ISS GS, ISS Australia, Spoon Foundation
Phase one of "A better future is possible", an ISS project for children with disabilities (CWD) in residential care in Vietnam is now successfully completed! In collaboration with the government of Vietnam, a dissemination workshop to officially conclude phase one, took place on March 3rd where Vietnam ministry of social affairs and representatives of 8 orphanages exchanged with ISS experts ideas and lessons learned as well as challenges and the way forward.
Thanks to ISS Australia and Médecins du Monde technical expertise, many positive results have been achieved, the capacity of 194 front-line staff have been strengthened on the assessment of children's needs and daily care of children with disabilities. 420 children have directly benefited from the project and have now a comprehensive file, individual projects and a Lifebook to keep a track of their own story.
"Before, it was hard to guess what the child wanted, but after training, I can predict what they really want once I see children with unusual expression ", "I can help children become more confident and socialize with others "- Caregiver in Kon Tum Province.
"... Now the staff think of ways to help the child progressing- this project has supported the caregivers efficiently as they have to pay more attention and try to find solutions together --- so they find the need to be improved ".- Caregiver in HO Chi Min City Province.
At the request of MOLISA, Phase two is planned to scale up training to eight new residential care institutions. The foreseen training curriculum will include Nutrition and Feeding techniques led by Spoon Foundation our key partner in this area. Furthermore, together with Spoon Foundation, ISS will support MOLISA to promote and ensure successful family reintegration of CWD living in residential care in two pilot provinces.
A Day care centre in Da Nang with stimulation tools provided by ISS
After the recent launch of a website dedicated to International Family Mediation (www.ifm-mfi.org), we are proud to announce the publication of an international document of reference The Charter for International Family Mediation Processes. At the initiative of ISS, this Charter was drafted by a group of 55 mediators from all continents, including all recognised IFM structures.
The next step of our IFM project will be to create an interactive tool for the promotion of Good Practices worldwide. A reflection, with the same group, on an international accreditation procedure for specialised mediators will follow suit as well.
We greatly thank all ISS members who appointed representatives to our endeavours in the field of IFM.
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ISS was present at the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference whose focus this year was on the impact of crises and disasters on children (DIHAD 2017).
ISS Secretary General, Jean Ayoub, was a guest speaker on the "Breaking the spiral of violence" session together with representatives from the International Red Cross and the Global Partnership to end violence against children.
ISS was invited to participate at the ninth annual High Commissioner's Dialogue on Protection Challenges last week in Geneva. This year's theme, Children on the Move, recognized the growing plight of young people who are fleeing violence and war, and struggling to reach safety. 50 million children are on the move! Against this worrying backdrop, this year's Dialogue brought together refugee youth representatives, States, intergovernmental organizations, civil society and other humanitarian and academic partners to consider the distinct protection risks children face while on the move.
ISS will continue to collaborate and focus on defining quality durable solutions and underlying the need of individual psycho-social and legal support as well as capacity building of social workers and other professionals.
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Free training through an International Inter-agency MOOC
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Getting Care Right for All Children: Implementing the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children
The International NGO Day on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) was attended by more than 250 civil society, NGOs and UN worldwide representatives. Vito Bumbaca from the ISS General Secretariat focused his intervention on the added value of cross border social services for individuals in need. In addition, training of concerned professionals is paramount to strengthen "the provision of access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels." (SDG 16).
This meeting was also an opportunity to give an overview on ISS current initiatives, partnerships and support to child protection competent authorities through its global network.
On 10 and 11 March, experts Clare Achmed, Nigel Cantwell, Patricia Fronek, David Smolin, Katarina Trimmings, Michael Wells –Greco and the ISS team moved forward with drafting seven principles to better protect children in international surrogacy arrangements (ISAs) – hosted at the law firm Charles Russel Speechley. The principles included best interests of the child, parentage, financial transactions, child as an independant rights holder, consent of the surrogate mother and principle of non discrimination. This preparatory work will be discussed by a wider group of experts/observers including government representatives in an effort to advocate for appropriate regulation of ISAs based on international standards.
The General Secretariat, represented ISS in the Annual Meeting of The Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action in Geneva.
The Alliance is a global interagency group focused on child protection in humanitarian settings and is is mandated to ensure the timeliness, quality and coverage of coordinated child protection responses in humanitarian settings. They set standards and provide technical support to ensure that efforts to protect children from violence and exploitation are of high quality and effective. The Annual Meeting was a platform to discuss the challenges and constraints faced by the child protections workers.
General Secretariat’s colleagues Paola Suarez and Jacqueline Guillot reported that the conference was also key to meet child protection practitioners, humanitarian actors from other sectors, academics and policy makers and initiate new partnership opportunities for ISS network.