‘Breaking the Cycle’ is an international conference organised by Railway Children Africa and Juconi Mexico, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children. It will take place at the Bank of Tanzania Conference Centre on 17-18 November 2016.’
British High Commissioner Sarah Cooke held a reception on 16th November to mark the launch of Railway Children Africa’s first international conference, ‘Breaking the Cycle’, on tackling abuse of street children.
200 delegates from around the world are meeting in Dar es Salaam for the conference, to collaborate, learn and come up with solutions and strategies to break the cycle of family violence for street-connected children.
Speaking at the event, Sarah Cooke said:
I was shocked to learn that one NGO found 100% of the street children in Mwanza had experienced physical or verbal abuse. 100% of the girls and 25% of the boys had been sexually abused. This clearly needs to be addressed, and I am delighted the UK, together with the Government fo Tanzania, is working on this issue
The work of Railway Children Africa has been funded by the UK Government in Mwanza since 2013. Additional UK funding under the ‘UK aid Match’ initiative was recently announced. Under ‘UK aid Match’, the British government matches funds raised separetly through private UK public donations. The UK government had recently committed to double the size of its funding to UK aid Match.
Research by Railway Children Africa finds children whose early relationships are characterised by violence often end up in a negative cycle causing further poverty, exposure to danger and negative life outcomes. The Breaking the Cycle conference will provide a crucial and rare opportunity to share knowledge and expertise from across the world to help address the abuse of an increasing number of children forced to live and work on the streets.
For the past six years Railway Children Africa has collaborated with the Mexican NGO, Juconi to provide training for local NGOs in East Africa working to support children on the streets and to support their families so that they can line in a safe family home and return to school.
Pete Kent, East Africa Regional Director at Railway Children, said:
Children and families affected by violence are often isolated and are unlikely to ever benefit from mainstream programmes and instead need a more intense therapeutic and family-based response, the best way we can help is to get better at sharing solutions that put children first and are proven to break the cycle of family violence.
The “Breaking the Cycle” conference brings expert speakers from academia and practice from more than ten countries across the world in North and South America, Europe, and from here in Africa. With delegates from more than 20 countries this conference will create a forum to share and develop interventions that can help to ensure that children on the streets are understood and that they and their families are provided with the care that they need.
Railway Children Africa’s services supporting children in Tanzania continue to benefit from the support of the British people through the UK Department For International Development Aid Match programme, specifically for services in Mwanza. The NGO will also soon be expanding services for children on the streets across the country under the Caring for Children and Young People project, with funding from the American people through the United States Agency for International Development.
Pete Kent said:
We very much welcome the Tanzanian government’s efforts in creating support services and protection for the most vulnerable children.The national plan of action to end violence against women and children and Tanzania’s status as a pathfinder country in the Global Partnership to end Violence Against Children, further demonstrates the political will to truly change the situation for vulnerable children here, including children on the streets. It is in close collaboration with the Government of Tanzania that we will deliver the Breaking the Cycle conference to help practitioners across the country develop more effective solutions for children on the streets.
The conference was officially launched by Deputy Minsiter Dr. Hamisi Kigwangalla on behalf of the Vice President at the Residence of the British High Commissioner on the evening of 16th November.