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Meeting on Child Participation - 13th and 14th November - Geneva

The already precarious situation of children in West Africa has been increasingly aggravated by political instability and conflicts in the region, which have lead to massive population displacements. Floods, cyclical epidemics of cholera and horrible food shortages in the Sahel region have only intensified problems. Social services are either overwhelmed, insufficient or non-existent, making it difficult to respond to the many needs associated with the care of children. Children themselves, which are no longer in school, are often victims of economic exploitation.

In light of this and its fruitful experiences through training sessions in Senegal (very positive results were seen for the Training for Trainers of Juvenile Justice, organised in partnership with the Judicial Training Centre of Dakar in 2012-2014 for key players in the juvenile penal systems of Dakar and Thiès), the IDE has decided to establish a degree in Protection and Rights of the Child out of this country, for professionals in all of West Africa.

This training program is a part of the dialogue on human rights between Switzerland and Senegal.


  • In the short term: 2 years
    To train 30 active West African professionals from various domains related to children’s rights on how to protect these rights.
  • In the medium term: 4-5 years
    To train 100 professionals who will then go on to become educators on the subject in their own country.
  • In the long term: 10 years and more
    To create a system of protection and care for children that respects their rights, in West Africa.


Social workers, educators, authorities (ministers or servicemen), NGO representatives, heads of institutions and penitentiaries, judges, police officers, prosecutors, lawyers, doctors, nurses, heads of regional medical centres, medical professionals, psychologists/psychiatrists, PhD candidates and students.

Countries implicated

Mali, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Cameroon.

Training Programs

  • Postgraduate university degree of 15 credits ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System), composed of 3 modules held over 12 months (16 days of classes). This is in addition to an individual training program and a written dissertation.
  • Follow-up is done in many ways, such as course updates, via the website and the participation of educators in projects, in the countries implicated.
  • Interdisciplinary approach which includes: law, sociology, pedagogy, psychology, social work, specialised education, demography, etc.

  • Combining the theoretical (basic knowledge) and practical (real live cases).
  • All training programs are held in French.

Partner Organisations

The IDE with:

  • University of Geneva's Center for Children's Rights Studies (Switzerland)
  • Judicial Training Centre (CFJ) in Dakar
  • Swiss Foundation of International Social Services (SSI) and the West African network (RAO)
  • The Senegalese Support Committee for Child Protection (CAPE)

Financial support

  • Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
  • With the support of
    République et canton de Genève


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Country, region:
West Africa
Project start date: 
May 2015
Head of the project: 
Aline Sermet (IDE)