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Around forty representatives of Terre des Hommes Lausanne, ENDA Jeunesse Action and the African Movement of Working Children and Youth (AMWCY), from Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria, took part in the operational planning of the sub-regional project for protecting child migrants along the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor, called ‘CORAL’. This took place from 10th to 14th April at the Sun Beach Hotel in Cotonou.

Child migration in Africa has been going on for a very long time. Its existence is linked to the culture and history of the people living along the corridor, and also to the development of towns that have become centres of attraction for children and young people in search of economic opportunities.

This aspect of mobility has long been misunderstood by the actors in child protection and the media as well as by policy makers. Indeed, the attention of the actors was solely focused on negative aspects such as trafficking, child labour and all types of violence. The aspects of child development that could be offered by migration, like better access to education, healthcare or personal development, made little impact. The CORAL project emerged to continue and strengthen the achievements of previous projects run by Terre des Hommes, AMWCY and ENDA in this field, to show the five countries on the Abidjan-Lagos corridor the way ahead for child migrant protection, as well as all the other countries in West Africa.

Aim

The CORAL project aims as improving the protection of migrant children by;

i) strengthening the community protective mechanisms to support young people to avoid the risks of migration, and to help them seize opportunities for development within their communities of origin, transit or destination, and to undertake safer and more secure migration;

ii) strengthening at an institutional, local, national and trans-national level to ensure that the specific needs and vulnerability of migrant children should be taken into account in the responses for prevention and protection with a view of guaranteeing better protection for young migrants; and

iii) improvement of the coordination and articulation between the community (formal and informal) and institutional (formal) systems of child protection so as to guarantee protection for children involved in mobility throughout their migration process.

Workshop

In order to ensure the good implementation of the CORAL project, its initiators deemed it necessary to organise an operational planning workshop.

This workshop in Cotonou, Benin gathered together representatives of the above-mentioned project initiators from the five countries directly involved in the implementation (Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria), as well as technical supervision from Senegal and Switzerland.

During this meeting the participants worked in committees and in a plenary session to keep clear operational strategies, as well as to choose periods for implementation for year one of the project – from 1 April 2017 up to 31 March 2018.

In order to be able to measure more effectively and efficiently the results achieved and the impact of the project, a plan for monitoring and evaluation was defined in a participatory process.

At the end of the work, and in response to the activities of the workshop, the participants strongly recommended that the following is carried out:

i) launching the CORAL project in the five countries listed above;

ii) finalisation of the operational planning at a country level;

iii) production of communication support for successful advocacy, and

iv) finalisation of the plan for monitoring and evaluation.

Project Launch

On the final day of the workshop, the official project launch took place in the presence of Regional Coordinator of ENDA Youth Action, Head of the Delegation of the Gulf of Guinea, Terre des Hommes, the representative of the Ministry of Employment of the Public Service and Social affairs, the Head of Cooperation to the Delegation of the European Union and the Representative of the African Movement of Working Children and Youth (AMWCY).

Guests included the Technical and Financial Partners (TFP), active national and international NGOs in the field of child welfare, the agencies of United Nations, executives of the partner ministries and national and local press.

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