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Open AccessArticle

Safeguarding Children in the Developing World—Beyond Intra-Organisational Policy and Self-Regulation

1
Department of Child Law, University of Leiden, 2311 Leiden, The Netherlands
2
Department of Public Law and Jurisprudence, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, Western Cape 7535, South Africa
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Soc. Sci. 2020, 9(6), 98; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9060098
Received: 29 April 2020 / Revised: 29 May 2020 / Accepted: 29 May 2020 / Published: 8 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Debates and Developments in Child Protection)
Safeguarding in the context of development and humanitarian assistance has received heightened international attention since 2018. Emerging literature has not yet investigated the extent to which responses are evolving in the best interests of the child, in line with the treaty-based rights of children. This article makes a unique contribution to scholarship by applying a child rights lens to safeguarding efforts in the aid sector with a focus on the least developed countries in Africa. The article first reviews the safeguarding landscape—providing a snapshot of self-regulatory and standard setting initiatives by non-government organisations (NGOs) and bilateral government donors. Next, the article examines the relevant standards in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and respective Committee observations to enrich the safeguarding discussion. Finally, the article discusses key dilemmas and remaining challenges for safeguarding children in the developing world. The article suggests that a rights-based approach provides for a more nuanced and contextualised response, avoiding the temptation of ‘tick-box’ exercises driven by reputational management and ‘programming siloes’ imposed by humanitarian and development actors. To support sustained and consistent progress, efforts should go beyond intra-organisational policy and sectoral self-regulation. Child rights law monitoring mechanisms can be leveraged to encourage effective government oversight of NGOs in contact with children, as part of national frameworks for child protection. Donor governments should also consider and increase investment in national and local child protection systems to address risk factors to child abuse and ensure appropriate responses for any child that experiences harm. View Full-Text
Keywords: safeguarding; child protection; child abuse; risk to children; sustainable development goals; convention on the rights of the child; African charter on the rights and welfare of the child; non-government organisations safeguarding; child protection; child abuse; risk to children; sustainable development goals; convention on the rights of the child; African charter on the rights and welfare of the child; non-government organisations
MDPI and ACS Style

Kaviani Johnson, A.; Sloth-Nielsen, J. Safeguarding Children in the Developing World—Beyond Intra-Organisational Policy and Self-Regulation. Soc. Sci. 2020, 9, 98.

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