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April 12, 2024

KEOOGO and Voice of Children two key players in the protection of street children

On 12 April, International Day of Street Children, PARTAGE Rise would like to highlight two of its members who are working tirelessly to help children and young people living on the streets.

KEOOGO’s work with street children in Burkina Faso

Deux jeunes garçons rencontrés au cours d'une maraude par les équipes de KEOOGO

The lives of children and young people who end up on the streets of Ouagadougou are varied. The reasons why they end up on the streets can be economic, with families in difficult circumstances pushing their children to seek an income, or socio-cultural, with child beggars, or “talibés”, begging for alms on behalf of unscrupulous marabouts, or young girls who are victims of forced marriage or gender-based violence. These factors are compounded by a worsening political and social context in the country, with insecurity and violence in the north driving some children and young people to flee to Ouagadougou in search of safety.

For many Burkinabè, these marginalised children and young people arouse fear and mistrust. They are often seen as troublemakers, without anyone fully realising that their rights are being violated. It is therefore essential to change the way society, both the general public and political decision-makers, view these children and young people in highly vulnerable situations.

Founded in 2004 by three former employees of Médecins Sans Frontières, KEOOGO provides support and guidance to children and young people excluded from the care system, offering them a chance to leave the streets for good and build a better future for themselves.

By going out to meet children and young people rather than waiting for them to turn to the association, KEOOGO adopts a proactive approach. They organise day and night patrols, relying on peer educators, former street youths who have been reintegrated, who know the area well and can establish a relationship of trust with them. Once this relationship has been established, KEOOGO offers a range of modules to enable them to play an active role in the decisions that affect them. Together with the team on the ground, each child determines his or her own reintegration objectives, and together they draw up a plan to achieve the desired stability and autonomy. The association does not work for children and young people, but with them.

Resource available :

Supporting children and young people living on the streets (French version only)

VOICE OF CHILDREN (VOC) child protection initiatives in Nepal

Groupe d'enfants pris en charge dans le centre d'accueil de Voice of Children

Since its creation in 2000, the organisation has played an essential role in helping children and young people living on the streets. By offering temporary reception centres, VOC provides them with a safe haven where they can receive medical care, psychological support and basic education. Working with local authorities, families, schools and communities, VOC raises awareness, prevents and intervenes in cases of violence against children and young people. Support and rehabilitation services are also offered to abused and neglected children and young people.

VOC relies on its Child Protection Charter to guide its actions and guarantee the safety of every child and young person taking part in its programmes. An effective warning system is in place, including a message box that allows them to confidentially report abuse, violations of their rights or dangerous situations. These messages are read by a trained person from outside the centre, in the presence of the elected chair of the Children’s Committee.

VOC makes children and young people aware of their rights and teaches them what is acceptable and unacceptable in terms of behaviour and treatment. The association encourages them to develop self-protection skills, to identify dangerous situations, to set personal limits and to ask for help if they need it. The participation of children and young people in decision-making involves their contribution to the design of activities, the identification of problems and the search for solutions adapted to their reality. VOC also encourages the creation of peer support networks among former centre beneficiaries, thereby strengthening their resilience in the face of the challenges they encounter.

Over the years, VOC has become a major player in child protection in Nepal. Thanks to its expertise in working with street children and young people and its awareness-raising, prevention, rehabilitation and advocacy programmes, the association is fighting against exploitation and abuse, helping to forge a promising future for every child and young person in Nepal.

The work of KEOOGO and VOC is essential in raising community awareness and advocating for the reintegration of children into society. As members of PARTAGE Rise, their commitment demonstrates our shared desire to ensure a better future for all children in vulnerable situations.