An interview with Mrs Cyrilla Heyi-Kinanga, Programme Manager Child Rights Governance at Africa Platform for Social Protection (APSP)

READY: [L-R] Cyrilla Heyi – Programme Manager Child Rights Governance, Martin Mbuvi – Deputy Director and Elizabeth Odera – Administration Officer at APSP Secretariat in Upper Hill, Nairobi. Image: Contributed.

NAIROBI, Kenya: In a candid interview with Smart Africa Media Managing Editor Elvis Mboya, Mrs Cyrilla Heyi-Kinanga, Programme Manager Child Rights Governance at Africa Platform for Social Protection (APSP) takes us inside the organization’s plan to amplify Child Sensitive Social Protection Programmes (CSSP) in Africa.

Briefly, introduce APSP organization to our audience, its Vision and Mission.

Cyrilla: The Africa Platform for Social Protection (APSP) is a Pan African network of organizations operating at grass roots, national and regional levels, with a commitment to promoting and strengthening the social contract between state and citizens.

APSP exists to strengthen civil society engagement with the articulation, formulation and implementation of social protection policies and programmes.

To achieve this, the APSP promotes active engagement of National Platforms in the shaping of Social Protection policies, programs, and practices in Africa. APSP has established, and engages with platforms across 27 countries.

Our Vision is to havean African continent free from poverty and vulnerability.

Our Mission Statement is to create partnerships with non-state actors to engage with governments in developing and implementing social protection policies, strategies and programmes that reduce poverty and vulnerability in Africa

APSP’s current campaign to amplify Child Sensitive Social Protection in East and Southern Africa is timely. What are key issues to be addressed and your realistic expectations?

Cyrilla:  Yes indeed it’s timely. Key issues being addressed include creating awareness of Child Sensitive Social Protection for programme implementers and policy makers to understand what child sensitive social protection is.

We expect policy makers and programme implementers to adopt and use the guide to developing child sensitive social protection programmes in Africa.

Further, we expect programme implementers and policy makers to identify gaps in existing social protection policies and mainstream child sensitive social protection in policies and programs in East and Southern Africa.

The awareness campaign, jointly with Smart Africa Media will use a prescribed guide. Briefly, walk us through this document.

Cyrilla: APSP in collaboration with Save the Children Regional Programme Unit, East and Southern Africa developed a guide to developing child sensitive social protection programmes in Africa.

The guide provides guidance on considerations in the design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of social protection interventions and programmes. The guide aims at promoting social protection programmes to reach the most marginalized.

The guide defines key terms such as Child sensitive social protection, social protection and cash plus. It also highlights the international and regional instruments that advocate for the right of every child to social protection.

The instruments include: the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the child (ACRWC) and the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

It describes the key steps of developing child sensitive social protection programmes in Africa which include conduct a child poverty and vulnerability analysis, identification of gaps in existing social protection policies and programmes, how to assess policies and programmes to ensure that they are child sensitive and identifying the intervention opportunities and entry points for CSSP including cash plus interventions.

The guide also delves into enhancing the participation of children as rights holders. It addresses child targeted programming, budgeting for children, child participation in programming, establishment of child sensitive social accountability mechanisms, monitoring and evaluation framework which looks at indicators relating to child wellbeing and finally opportunities for Advocacy for child sensitive social protection.

What’s APSP’s relationship with Save the Children International and what’s its role in implementing the CSSP project?

Cyrilla:  Save the Children and APSP are partners and our purpose is to mainstream child sensitive social protection in East and Southern Africa with a broader goal to promote the wellbeing of children in Africa.

What are the challenges in advocating for Child Sensitive Social Protection during COVID-19 pandemic?

Cyrilla: The year 2020 and 2021 presented novel challenges and experiences due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has ravaged the entire world.

Government policies that limit movement hindered program activities to some extent. Social distancing, because of COVID-19 restrictions, was declared and enforced in many African countries where APSP works.

This affected delivery of our planned programme activities, which included capacity building workshops on CSSP, national consultative and consensus meetings and review of documents on CSSP.

Curfews/lock downs restricted movement from one place to another to undertake program activities.

This limited our interactions with relevant partners on planned activities. Meetings/ gatherings were suspended therefore planned meetings were not held physically but virtually.

In mitigation, APSP adopted the use of ICT technologies to ensure business continuity. Staff were supported to work from home, access required support of resources to facilitate their work and ensure that deliverables were achieved the shift to online platforms enabled APSP reach platform members and partners to participate in program activities. 

Briefly highlight some of the key success stories that APSP has scored over the years in its dire need to address Child Sensitive Social Protection issues.

Cyrilla:  APSP has generated evidence for the need of CSSP in East and Southern Africa. The generation of evidence or data plays a key role in advocacy.

Some of the evidences generated include a study on Child poverty and deprivation in East and Southern Africa: An Analysis of Selected Countries which was disseminated in several countries.

Child sensitive social protection: addressing child poverty in sub- Saharan Africa.

A guide to developing child sensitive social protection programmes in Africa.

A study on social protection interventions targeting children in East and Southern Africa: Cases from selected countries.

Technical briefs on education, health and nutrition, child protection, water, sanitation and hygiene, livelihoods and government budgets and expenditure from the report on Social Protection Interventions Targeting Children in East and Southern Africa.

A newspaper feature titled East Africa Countries extend Social Protection coverage to children against the impact of COVID-19 was published by the Nation Media Group’s The East African newspaper on 15th November 2021.

This feature will popularize evidence and good practices generated from the report on Social protection interventions targeting children in East and Southern Africa: Cases from selected countries.

At the Africa Union (AU) level, APSP was at the forefront advocating for Inclusion of child sensitive social protection provisions in the draft Africa Union’s protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Right of Citizens to Social Protection and Social Security.

At the East Africa Community (EAC) level, APSP supported the EAC to develop and review a new strategy on Gender, Youth, Children, and Persons with Disabilities, Social Protection and Community Development.

In 2020, APSP contributed on CSSP in the EAC COVID-19 Response and Adaptation Plan for Children and Young People. These are some of the achievements among many others.

What have been your key learnings in your work advocating for Child Sensitive Social Protection?

Cyrilla:The key learnings include data plays a key role in advocacy work, advocacy influences governments and decision makers, for Child Sensitive Social protection to be mainstreamed, effective articulation of legal, policy and program gaps at national, regional levels is critical.

For the state to maintain Children issues and interests, tracking of delivery of policies and programmes is important.

Capacity building of members of parliament, the grassroots groups and the children themselves build a critical body of voices for change.

ABOUT THE AFRICA PLATFORM FOR SOCIAL PROTECTION (APSP)

The Africa Platform for Social Protection (APSP) (https://africapsp.org/) is a pan African network of organizations operating at grassroots, national and regional levels, with a commitment to promoting and strengthening the social contract between states and citizens.

To achieve this, the APSP promotes active engagement of National Platforms in the shaping of Social Protection policies, programs, and practices in Africa. APSP has established 27 platforms to engage at the national level.

We are a Pan Africa NGO that works with governments, private sector, development agencies, research institutions and grassroots communities in Africa by designing, testing and delivering appropriate poverty alleviation models to the poor and underserved communities through social protection programs.

We create partnerships with civil society & other organizations to engage with Government & International Development Agencies (IDAs) to develop & Implement innovative social protection strategies & programmes that make a difference in poor and vulnerable households in Africa.

We exist to strengthen civil society engagements with state and non-state actors for effective service delivery in Social Protection.

For more information, please visit: https://africapsp.org/

MEDIA OUTLET SYNOPSIS

Smart Africa Media (https://smartcompany.africa/) is a pan-African online media convergence platform, incorporating a Daily Newspaper, Digital TV, and soon to introduce Podcast to amplify pro-development and success stories across Africa and the Diaspora, to inspire investment and growth.

The multimedia outlet is cultivating smart partnerships, correspondences and audiences across Africa and the Diaspora, with a strong emphasis to deliver business and economic stories that are positive, constructive, and empowering.

In the process, we have secured Media Partnerships for the African Energy Chamber’s premier event African Energy Week 2021 (https://aew2021.com/) in Cape Town, South Africa and with the Africa Platform for Social Protection (APSP) (https://africapsp.org/), to amplify Child Sensitive Social Protection Programmes (CSSP) in East and Southern Africa regions.

We also Collaborate with the APO Group (https://apo-opa.com/), to distribute Africa’s related positive news content.

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