Established in 2010, the Somalia Child Protection Area of Responsibility (CP AoR) is a forum through which agencies with child protection programmes in Somalia coordinate their interventions, seek consensus on strategic issues and create partnerships and linkages for better prioritization of the available resources. The overall objective of the group is to attain an effective and predictable response to child protection issues in Somalia through improved coordination of activities in order to enhance protection of children affected emergencies. Led by UNICEF Somalia and co-led by Save the Children International and deputy co-led by the Somali Women Development Centre (SWDC) at the National level, the national CP AoR seeks to involve relevant agencies and existing coordination mechanisms in Somalia. Membership of the Somalia CP AoR is open to UN agencies, national and international NGOs, government and civil society organizations actively involved in child protection programming in Somalia.
2023 Response plan in numbers
Boys and girls of all ages in Somalia continue to endure multiple protection risks and violations of their rights including family separation, sexual and physical violence, killing and maiming, psychosocial distress, and worst forms of child labour. Other risks include forced and protracted displacements, limited access to humanitarian assistance due to insecurity and/or discriminatory practices and exploitation, as well as recruitment by armed forces and groups. Despite important measures taken by the Government to reduce recruitment of children, Somalia is still among the top six countries with the highest total number of grave violations against children in the world 174, and the recruitment and use of children as well as abduction and sexual violence are particularly alarming. Between 1 August 2016 to 30 June 2020, the Country Task Force verified 17,156 violations against 14,637 children (2,533 girls, 12,104 boys) of which the majority were attributed to Al-Shabaab, followed by the Somali National Army regional forces and clan militias.
The impacts of COVID-19, and measures taken to control it, the ongoing armed conflict and insecurity as well as well as climatic shocks continue to have a devastating impact on the protection of girls and boys, exposing them profound mental health and psychosocial risks. According to a perception survey, 71 per cent of child protection partners reported that children were experiencing psychological distress. Child protection partners have also witnessed increased fear and anxiety amongst children due to disruption of their daily routines. While significant progress has been made in delivering stabilizing and generalized psychosocial support to significant numbers of children in need, the need to scale up more structured psychosocial support for those most severely affected is urgently required.
The Child Protection AoR response in 2021 will focus on the provision of critical child protection and specialized services through an integrated approach to address the priority needs of targeted vulnerable girls and boys and their families in hard-to-reach, conflict-affected areas, and priority geographical areas. The Child Protection AoR plans to reach 1.19 million children and adults (764,495 in IDP camp/sites, 385,208 non-IDPs and 42,561 refugees and returnees) in 74 districts with child protection services. The community-based child protection response in IDP camps/sites and conflict-af-fected areas will be strengthened and joint programmes with Education, GBV, CCCM and other actors will be undertaken to mitigate and respond to key child protec-tion risks. Operational coordination and joint capacity strengthening initiatives with child protection and GBV partners will be reinforced to address increasing cases of child survivors of GBV. Education and child protection partners will continue to work together on improving children’s psychosocial wellbeing and imple-ment capacity strengthening activities for teachers and school social workers.