The Fourteenth Steering Committee Meeting and Annual Peer Review for Child Protection of the West Africa Network (WAN) was convened at the Paradise Suite Hotel, Greater Banjul Area, The Gambia, from 17– 18 October, 2018.
1. The meeting was convened under the authority of Dr. Siga Fatima JAGNE, the Honourable Commissioner, Department of Social Affairs and Gender, ECOWAS Commission; hosted by the Office of the First Lady of The Gambia and the Minister, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, The Gambia, supported by the Resident Representative of the President of the ECOWAS Commission to The Gambia, Her Excellency, Ambassador Vabah K. Gayflor, with technical support of the International Social Service (ISS) West Africa and Switzerland and sponsored by the SDC and EU. The two-day meeting drew high attendance of the child protection officers of the ECOWAS Member States, members of the diplomatic community, Heads of International organisations or their duly accredited representatives, State actors, CSOs and representatives of the children (AMWCY).
2. As critical outcomes, the ECOWAS Regional Child Protection Signage and the Report of the First Annual Peer Review for the Protection of Children on the Move were presented and launched; copies of the said documents were distributed to Member States and other participants.
3. Member States (those present were Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and The Gambia) made individual presentations on the strategies to be adopted towards the effective production, promotion and dissemination of the Regional Child Protection Signage.
4. The review of WAN performance from January, 2017-September, 2018 was done; which attested to the increase in the number of vulnerable children in the region referred to the WAN Mechanism and the need for concerted efforts and programs towards addressing their challenges. Peer Review Questionnaire for the reference year 2018, was presented and validated.
5. The African Fund for Child Protection was presented as well as the WAN perspectives for the period November, 2018 – October, 2019; which emphasized among others, the need for strengthening innovative strategies for endogenous resource mobilization, knowledge sharing and cooperation amongst stakeholders in child protection within the region.
6. The meeting witnessed paper presentations and some countries’ (Benin, Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire) peer review reports for the year 2017.
7. Due recognition and appreciation were extended to the International Social Service for her commitment and resilience towards the protection of children in the ECOWAS region.