Social Protection in Northern Nigeria

Children and vulnerable older women

John Dada has give us this information about Fantsuam’s child protection service, “The Fantsuam Foundation Social Protection service was created in response to needs identified in the communities around Kafanchan. Two groups of vulnerable people - children and older women – were those most likely to be attacked because of accusations of witchcraft. The trauma and distress caused for these people, the disregard of their basic human rights and disrespect for their humanity were issues that led us to create a social protection unit. As a result of our experience we developed the first in-house Child Protection Policy in northern Nigeria. This policy set out our values and strategies for the security and protection of children.

Protection from further abuse

As a result of our widely publicised intervention strategies, suspected cases of physical or emotional abuse of the elderly and children are routinely referred to us. Our prompt response has given assurance that all cases will be investigated within 24 hours and measures taken to ensure the immediate safety of the older person or child and appropriate follow up provided. Our priority is always the immediate relocation of the person at risk to a safer environment while investigation is undertaken. This requires access to safe homes, families and individuals who are able to provide such facilities at short notice. Detailed documentation and confidentiality is maintained.

Reconciliatin and reunion

We have recorded appreciable success in many cases with the ultimate goal of re-integration into families and communities if possible. We have cases of children whom we have to relocate to far away locations for their safety, while we spend time raising awareness about the different issues of concern with their families. So far, our experience is that with time and focussed engagement with the victim's community and family, it is usually possible to initiate a reconciliation and reunion. The key words here are persistence, time and holistic support for the victim and their families.”

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