Over the two days of May 23-24, 2022, the Jesuit Justice and Ecology Network – Africa (JENA) and the Africa Task Force of the Vatican COVID-19 Commission brought together practitioners and specialists for a critical examination of the Theology and Practice of Child Protection in Africa.
The objective of this conference was threefold:
- To listen to God and to one another in order to discern the best ways to carry out the work of child protection in Africa
- To develop proposals and interdisciplinary discussion papers that will be used to contribute to taking forward the theme and key outcomes of the Indaba
- To coproduce policy relevant knowledge products, including research papers and policy briefs from the outcomes of the Indaba.
The two-day conference comprised 7 plenary sessions with 2-3 speakers per session. Each speaker was given 15 minutes to present, followed by 5-10 minutes of questions and comments. The conference was structured to foster discussion between participants around the core themes of child protection in Africa. This was achieved by the breakout group discussions, white papers, and plenary group discussions issues arising following each session.
Each day of the conference also allotted one and a half hours for lunch, and 30 minutes for morning and afternoon tea to allow participants to continue their discussions after each session. Time was allocated at the end of each day for a group reflection on the day’s discussions. Each conference session related to core themes of child protection with particular focus on the situation of children in Africa in the wake of COVID-19.
The Program of the Indaba was centred on seven themes, namely:
• Integrated Approaches to Child Protection in times of the pandemic
• Climate Change, Conflict and Children
• The Church and Child Labour
• Protection of the Girl Child
• Protection of Migrant and Refugee Children
• The Church and Residential Care of Children
• Children’s mental health and COVID-19