Firelight partners present on child protection work at REPSSI conference
Firelight’s Resilience Initiative provides funding and capacity building support to grassroots organizations in Tanzania working to ensure children realize the fulfillment of their rights and their potential within a safe, caring, and protective environment. This past August, the Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative (REPSSI) organized an international forum in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe that brought together participants from 23 different countries in Africa, Europe, Asia and America to discuss and share their experiences of working to lessen the social and emotional impacts of poverty, conflict, and HIV among children. The theme of the conference was “Love, Care and Protection - From Infancy to Adolescence.”
Firelight’s Program Consultant, Tomaida Banda, attended the forum along with two grantee-partners from our Resilience initiative, Investing in Children and their Societies (ICS) and AGAPE AIDS Control Program, two organizations working to improve child rights and child protection in the Shinyanga region of Tanzania.
The REPSSI forum included several plenary sessions on a variety of topics, such as the Global Campaign to End Child Marriage, girls’ empowerment through sexual and reproductive health education, early childhood development, and positive parenting. All of the plenary presentations emphasized the importance of providing psychosocial support to children and the importance of keeping children in a family environment. There were 5 breakaway sessions that were arranged to give an opportunity to participants to engage with one another in smaller groups on the various presented topics.
ICS and AGAPE both presented on their work through the Resilience initiative. Learn more about their presentations here.
The presentations from AGAPE and ICS were well received and stimulated a lot of discussion among the participants. For AGAPE, participants were keen to know what was being done to change Tanzania’s legal age of marriage through the Marriage Act that currently allows girls as young as 14 to be married with parental consent. Participants also wanted to find out what was being done to strengthen the families of the girls to prevent the practice of child marriage.
Presentations of similar theme were grouped together, which allowed presenters to make linkages and network with people who were implementing similar projects in other countries. This networking opportunity benefited ICS and AGAPE greatly. Both groups are in the process of forging partnerships with local and international organizations doing similar work in the region.
AGAPE and ICS’s presentations are available for download in our Learning Spot.