Protection Of The Little Child
The privileged status of children in Cameroon echoes the commitment of the Head of State, His Excellency Paul Biya, who from the rostrum of the Extraordinary General Assembly of the United Nations on Children in May 2002, said: "No human cause is more worthy than the defense and promotion of human rights and the future of children, who, according to the bible, are God's inheritance."
This child protection in all aspects necessary for its development and growth remains an ongoing concern of the Government of Cameroon. This results in a multitude of multi-sectoral actions for this segment of the vulnerable population.
The organization of the government has no less than 13 government departments whose work contributes to the development of early childhood.
The Ministry of Social Affairs, in charge of social protection of children, enjoys the support of many other governments, parastatal and private structures, the civil society and the support of bilateral and multilateral cooperation.
Cameroon has ratified the main international legal instruments and has always participated in various international meetings devoted to the situation of the child.
The Constitution, the Civil and Criminal Codes in force in Cameroon also contain specific provisions to protect the child.
Advances in the protection of the little child
Early childhood (0-3 years) is characterized by high child dependency vis-à-vis their environment and parents. Their welfare needs focus on physical security, affective and emotional, taking nutrition and health care. They also cover the definition of a more fulfilling legal and institutional framework and guarantee the realization of their fundamental rights.
In terms of policy :
- Development of a National Policy Framework Document for Integral Development of the Young Child (DIJE) with three (3) major strategic axes:
- Improving access and quality of basic social services necessary for the harmonious development of young children;
- Improved quality of life and environment of the young child;
- Strengthening the institutional and strategic device concerning the young child.
In terms of interventions and services:
Safeguarding family harmony through:
- Family education on responsible parenthood;
- Premarital, marital and family education;
- Fight against the concubinage;
- Family mediation in cases of conflict between the couple or family.
Safeguarding children deprived of a family environment through:
- Institutional or foster care;
- The current debate on the institutionalization of a system sponsorship of vulnerable children in Cameroon.
At the institutional level:
In Cameroon, the best living place for the child is in the family. The creation of childcare institutions intervenes only to overcome the crisis and temporary substitute parents.
Under the care of children temporarily or permanently deprived of their family environment, the country currently has two types of institutions: Reception Centers for Distressed Children commonly known by their French acronym, CAED, and Childcare Centres.
To date, 04 CAED with a capacity of 40 spaces each, are functional in the capital Yaounde and Garoua in the North, Ambam in the South and Ekondo TITI in the South West Region.
A pilot Daycare Nursery with 60 spaces was opened Djoungolo (Yaoundé).
Regulations are also taken to ensure the smooth functioning and organization of institutions catering for the little child.
This is the case of Decree 2001/110PM of March 2001 on the organization and functioning of government institutions catering young children (day-care, nursery and day nurseries).
The effective implementation of the provisions of this decree will contribute to improving the management of the little child.
In addition to the government organization, the State has established an institutional framework (laws and decrees) promoting the involvement of private partners. The policy of child protection is strongly supported by the active action of various NGOs and associations in the legal, health, education and psycho-social framework.
It is important to note the dynamic and plural action of the First Lady HE Mrs Chantal Biya who through her charitable works such as African Synergy for the Fight Against AIDS and Suffering, the Circle of Friends of Cameroon (CERAC) and Foundation that bears her name is involved in the development of the child.
Prospects for action for children: priority areas of intervention
All these advances meant to make Cameroon a country fit for caring for children have only been possible through the adoption and implementation of a participatory strategy that builds on our traditional values of sharing: this is nothing else than national solidarity. In this movement, the prospects of social protection of children focus on the following priority areas:
- Improvement and strengthening of political, legal and institutional framework;
- Identification and reinforcement of the capacities of Private Social Structures catering for the little child;
- Partnership development, advocacy and resource mobilization;
- Reinforcing the supervision of child care facilities;
- Pursuit for its effective implementation of the national debate on the sponsorship as palliative measures of support for children in distress;
- Reinforcing the capacity of social workers.