In early October 2012, Tostan Guinea held a four-day training on Tostan’s Child Protection Module in Labé, Guinea. The Child Protection Module is a week-long training for Community Management Committees (CMCs) designed to build consensus around human rights and children’s rights while building awareness of the various moral, social, and legal norms that affect children.

Many children in poor areas in Guinea are vulnerable to forced begging, child labor, migration, trafficking, child/forced marriage, early pregnancy, lack of education, and physical punishment. Tostan believes an empowering education that builds understanding and discussion around these issues enables communities to find appropriate and sustainable ways to protect their children’s wellbeing.

The four-day training was attended by the National Coordinator and Supervisors of Tostan Guinea and conducted by Mohamed Cherif Diop, Child Protection Project Supervisor. The objective of the training was to master the content of the Child Protection module in order to reproduce the training for the Tostan Facilitators in the 76 communities currently participating in Tostan’s Community Empowerment Program (CEP). This will be the first time Tostan Guinea implements the Child Protection Module, and team members anticipates a lot of enthusiasm from CEP participants.

The training was also attended by Théophile Fenano, a representative of the National Direction of the Civil State, and Oumar Fofana, a representative from the National Direction of Pre-School Education and Child Protection. The workshop began with a session on moral norms, social norms, and legal norms concerning children’s rights. Participants then discussed human rights and responsibilities relating to child protection, current laws, and problem-solving techniques. Each participant had the opportunity to share experiences unique to their regions. The two government representatives greatly enriched the discussion with their knowledge of legal processes.

Workshop participants then broke into small groups to discuss case studies, allowing them to reflect on problems and solutions to protect children’s rights in their specific regions.

The Child Protection Module taught by Facilitators to Community Management Committees (CMCs) during a weekly-long workshop. During this week, the CMCs establish a Child Protection Commission that is responsible for ensuring the respect of children’s rights and creating an action plan that includes intervention steps when these rights are violated. Religious and local government authorities and community leaders, such as village chiefs, are invited to be active members in the Commission so that the entire community is motivated and mobilized around child protection. The sustainability of the modules lies in the fact that communities themselves define the problems needed to be addressed regarding child protection and create solutions appropriate to their unique contexts.

Later this fall, the Child Protection Module training will be given to Tostan Facilitators in the 76 communities where Tostan implements the CEP in Guinea. Tostan Guinea  is also looking forward to providing the training to CMCs in the 200 communities that have already completed the CEP.