The African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC)
Terms of Reference for the Development of Guidelines for Child Participation in Africa
1. During its 34th Ordinary Session, which was held from 25 November to 05 December 2019 in Cairo, Egypt, the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) made a Decision to develop Guidelines on child participation. The Decision was made after presentation African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and consideration of the findings of a mapping study conducted on child participation in Africa by Save the Children International.
2. The Study notes that despite the fact that 47% of the population of Africa consists of children, there are large gaps for the implementation of child rights priorities and establishing platforms for meaningful engagement of children as rights-holders and in contributing to functional child protection systems. It is highlighted that meaningful and effective child participation is sporadic and rare, with forums and events being held on an ad hoc basis. It is further noted that there is lack of systematization of child participation as an obligatory state-funded democratic process in all political and social spaces, thus limiting the effective use of accountability mechanisms for children. Various factors contribute to the low level of meaningful child participation in Africa, including cultural attitudes towards children’s agency in decision making, lack of enabling laws and policies, lack of platforms for participation, budgetary constraints and other factors.
3. The study also sheds light on the challenges of child participation at the African Union level and specifically in the activities of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. It is noted that the ACERWC has not yet systematized the participation of children in its different activities, despite the rights being a cardinal principle of children’s rights.
4. The Committee notes that the aforementioned challenges have been envisaged and measures have been taken to enhance child participation. One of such measures is the appointment of a Special Rapporteur on child participation through a resolution of the Committee, which recognizes the overarching challenges in the continent in realizing the right. The resolution gives the Special Rapporteur the mandate to undertake various activities to enhance child participation at the ACERWC level and encourage and promote such activities in State Parties including the mandate to take the lead in the development of the ACERWC’s documents related to child participation.
5. Taking into consideration the aforementioned challenges and noting that child participation is one of the cardinal principles of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) enshrined in article 4(2) and article 7 of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and noting that Aspiration 10 of Agenda 2040: African Children’s Views Matter, speaks directly to child participation, the Committee deems it necessary to develop Guidelines for child participation in Africa. In this regard, in collaboration with SCI, the ACERWC would like to hire a consultant who will be undertaking this assignment on the Committee’s behalf.
II. Objective of the Guidelines
6. The aim of the Guidelines is to enhance the realization of the right of children to participate and be heard in matters that affect them, including
a) To ensure that children participate systematically, meaningfully and continually in the work of the Committee throughout its various mandates including: State Party reporting mechanism including the follow up on Concluding Observations and Recommendations, Individual complaint/Communication mechanism, Investigation mandate, Ordinary and Extra-Ordinary Sessions, continental studies and other activities;
b) To ensure that Member States have clear guidance on the creation and implementation of structures and platforms for child participation, starting from the family environment up to national level, with clear linkages and interdependencies between levels.
III. Scope of the Guidelines
7. Primarily, the Guidelines will be based on the provisions of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child; specifically article 7 freedom of expression, article 4(2) the right to be heard in all judicial and administrative proceedings affecting a child, and article 12 that provides among others, the child’s right to fully and freely participate in cultural life and arts and also obliges the State to respect, promote and encourage the provision of appropriate and equal opportunities to advance the right.
The Guidelines will also be substantiated by the principles of interpretation of the Charter which are the best interest of the child, the right to life survival and development, and non-discrimination. Furthermore, Aspiration 10 of Agenda 2040; African Children’s Views Matter, and its specific goals will further inform the Guidelines. In addition, reference will be made to other international and regional norms, standards and good practices relevant to child participation applicable to the African context.
8. The Guidelines will have two sections.
i. The first section will focus on child participation at the continental level through the ACERWC. It particularly covers the key mandates of the Committee as prescribed under the following articles of the Charter: Article 43 (State Party Reporting Procedure), 44 (Communication Procedure) and 45 (Investigation Procedure). It will also cover other activities of the Committee such as Ordinary and Extra-Ordinary sessions, continental studies, commemoration of the Day of the African Child, and other promotional activities as defined by the Committee’s Rules of Procedures.
ii. The second section will focus on child participation at the national level. It will guide State Parties on measures that need to be taken to ensure effective and meaningful child participation in various platforms and levels including: family and alternative care environment, community level, school environment and national level.
9. The consultancy will be home-based with limited travels to the Headquarters of the ACERWC. The Guidelines will be produced primarily through a desk review of available resources as well as interviewing relevant stakeholders. The process for the drafting of the Guidelines will be led by the Special Rapporteur on child participation of the ACERWC.
10. The Guidelines will be validated through a consultative process with the ACERWC and its Secretariat, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), AU Member States, civil society organisations and children, prior to approval by the ACERWC.
11. The cost of the consultancy will be covered by Save the Children International.
12. Rules and procedures for procurement of consultants will therefore be in line with Save the Children International’s policies and procedures
VI. Key skills, technical background, and experience required
- Advanced university degree in international law, Child Rights, Human Rights Law, Social Sciences or a related technical field;
- Minimum 10 years of work experience in human rights, child rights, child protection or related field;
- Excellent writing, conceptual and analytical skills;
- Demonstrated professional experience on matters related to child participation;
- Ability to speak and write in English is a must and working knowledge in French is desirable for this assignment;
- Good communication and facilitation skills;
- Good knowledge and understanding of the ACRWC and the ACERWC;
- Ability to work independently and achieve quality results with limited supervision
13. Estimated duration of the consultancy is 40 working days, within the period of 1st June to 15 December 2020.
Deliverables and Duration (Estimated # of days)
1. Prepare a draft outline of the Guidelines and present it to the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) and its partners – 4 days
2. Develop a first draft of the Guidelines, based on the agreed outline; collect input and develop a draft for presentation to ACERWC – 20 days
3. Participate in the Committee’s Session, coordination, planning, consultation and validation meetings, as required – 10 days
4. Develop the final draft of the Guidelines based on inputs for adoption by the ACERWC – 6 days
All applications should be sent to email@example.com
The deadline for applications is COB 23rd May 2020
N.B Evaluation will be done on a rolling basis.