A coalition of international nonprofits and the United Nations Children’s Fund released a handbook in March called “Moving Forward: Implementing the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children” in Geneva, spotlighting Pact’s development of minimum standards for residential childcare facilities in Namibia as a promising practice to improve the well-being of children lacking parental care worldwide.
The publication presents recommendations to help caregivers put into practice alternative childcare guidelines ratified by the United Nations General Assembly in 2009.
“In many countries, many or most private providers operate without being duly licensed,” the handbook notes. In places where there is no effective inspection of childcare facilities, “the authorities are unaware of the number of children in alternative care in their country, let alone the justification for them being there and the quality of the care they receive.”
The authors cite Pact’s work in Namibia as a promising solution for reliable licensing and inspection of residential care for children without their parents in part because of minimum standards it arrived at in consultation with local partners. They also lauded the partners’ establishment of formal registration and monitoring of the facilities with the government.
Read the whole promising practice.
Pact has been helping Namibia improve its services for vulnerable children since 2006, under a project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development.
It’s important work. In Namibia, some 250,000 orphans and vulnerable children, or roughly an eighth of the nation’s population, were counted in 2006, the latest figures available. About one in three Namibian households cared for a child who was not theirs by birth.
A child's drawing describing her ideal standards of care.
In line with Pact’s commitment to create solutions with the people it serves, it worked with the national government, nonprofits, 18 alternative care facilities and 100 children throughout the country to draft the country’s first set of national standards for residential childcare facilities in 2009.
Pact also helped create a grassroots network of facilities, whose members helped each other improve their services and represent their needs in cooperation with the government.
By 2012, the government was working with the 27 facilities nationwide.