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Cycle Africa: A Journey Towards Realising Street Children’s Rights

Tue, Dec 18, 2012

Women and Children

A Blog Post by Louise Meincke, Advocacy Director and Natalie Turgut, Advocacy Officer at the Consortium for Street Children and Coordinator of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Street Children

Cycle Africa was a charity challenge – a journey by bicycle from London to Cape Town to raise money for street children projects visited along the route. The trip has been a huge success with more than £50,000 raised so far. However, Cycle Africa became more than just a fundraising challenge. Cycle Africa generated unique advocacy opportunities for street children organisations to raise awareness of street children beyond their usual audiences.

In Thika, Kenya at the launch of Railway Children’s Struggling to Survive report Cycle Africa’s presence attracted the media and government representatives. This enabled Railway Children to make a call to action directly to the government to address violence against street children highlighted in the report. In Durban, South Africa, Cycle Africa was escorted into the city by the metropolitan police. This was of great significance; the police are historically one of the main perpetrators of violence against street children, and instead showed public support for them.

Although Cycle Africa was one journey at one point in time, it highlights the importance of partnerships, between organisations and across sectors, in order to have the greatest impact for street children. In a sector where resources are limited, such partnerships are vital. In Sierra Leone, for instance, a national headcount of street children was conducted through the collaboration of two UK-based charities Street Child and StreetInvest, 62 local NGOs and the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs. This headcount is a landmark as it is the first such count of street children ever to be conducted on a national scale, and has provided baseline data from which the government can address the challenges that street children face on a practical level.

The concept of coordination and partnerships is not new. However, it is something identified as lacking in the street children sector: at the request of members, the Consortium for Street Children (CSC) is to launch an Online Resource Centre (ORC) at the beginning of 2013 that will provide a platform for members to share learning and collaborate on projects. The ORC will profile members – where they work and what their projects focus on, allowing for effective coordination and collaboration. One of the first pieces of online collaboration will be to produce a toolkit on working with street girls, an area that has been identified by CSC’s members as a priority area. It is only through taking such an approach that there can be the greatest impact for street children. Indeed, this theme is prevalent throughout the findings and recommendations of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ 2012 study on street children. If street children’s rights are to be realised, coordination and collaboration within the sector is essential.

For more information about Cycle Africa go to: http://www.cycleafrica.org/

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Women, Peace and Security – UN Security Council Resolution 1325

Women, Peace and Security 

 

UN Security Council Resolution 1325 was the first of its kind to specifically address the unique impact of conflict on women, and women’s important contributions to conflict resolution and sustainable peace. Passed in 2000, it marked a watershed moment when the international community formally recognized the integral role of women and gender to peace and security. UNSCR 1325 has remained an essential tool for encouraging governments to fulfill their obligations to ensure women are included as agents for peace and security in all processes, and its framework has inspired further action by the UN and civil societies and governments around the world to mainstream gender into their work on conflict resolution.

 

Following UNSCR 1325, subsequent Security Council Resolutions further defined the importance of women’s roles in conflict and peacebuilding. Resolutions 1820, passed in 2008, and 1888, passed in 2009,  recognize sexual violence as an issue of international peace and security and reiterate the need for a comprehensive response to sexual and gender-based violence. In 2010, Resolution 1960 created specific steps needed for the prevention of sexual violence, and Resolution 2106 in 2013 looked specifically at accountability for crimes of sexual violence. The most recent resolution on women, peace and security, UNSCR 2122, aims to strengthen measures to improve the participation of women in all phases of conflict resolution and prevention.

 

UNSCR 1325 and successive Resolutions are an important show of international support that ensure women, peace and security are on the agenda for international organizations and governments across the globe, but there are many steps between the passage of such resolutions and their full implementation on the ground.  One tool that helps bridge this gap are National Action Plans(NAPs), written plans that specify how a country will mainstream gender, and the principles of 1325 into its defense, development and diplomatic activities. Over 36 countries in the world have drafted NAPs, and that number is growing every year.

 

In addition to government- and UN-level documents and programs, it is important to consider the work women do in more informal, Track II diplomatic and peace negotiations. Around the world, women are active as civil society leaders, and in many cases, such as Liberia, Northern Ireland and the Philippines, their grassroots work has played a major role in peace processes.

 

For more resources on women, peace and security, visit The Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and SecurityPeaceWomenUSIP, and The Institute for Inclusive Security.

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