A Milestone for Improved Access to Justice for Children through Child Friendly Courts
Citizen Voices Addressing Violence Against Children
By: Lerato Brown | Communications and Marketing Manager
Our Promise strategy represents World Vision’s (WV) firm promise to the world’s most vulnerable children, and our contribution to the sustainable development goals. It boldly states that “We will continue to transform lives in the world’s hardest-to-reach places, empowering every girl and boy to reach their God-given potential. This drives to the very heart of our vision statement: ‘Our vision for every child, life in all its fullness. Our prayer for every heart, the will to make it so.”
At the heart of #SDG16: Peace, Justice and strong Institutions; is to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. World Vision through the European Union funded ‘Citizen Voices Addressing Violence Against Children’ (CVAVAC) project are realizing that goal through improved access to justice for children.
The CVAVAC project aims to empower communities on child protection laws and policies and advocate for improvements in the justice sector particularly in child rights protection and violence against children with a key focus on citizens empowerment, policy influence and improved service delivery. Since the inception of the project in June 2022; Lesotho’s justice sector has witnessed life changing milestones in the fulfilment of the project goals; to empower child protection laws and policies, influence public policy changes and improve justice sector service delivery through child appropriate improvements.
The latter has been through the rehabilitation of children’s courts to meet child friendly court standards which has seen the refurbishing of the Tšifa-Li-Mali Magistrate Court in Leribe, making it the first court in the in the North of Lesotho to create a child friendly space in line with section 133(3) of the Children’s Protection Welfare Act 2011 “ Courtroom to be designed in a way which is conducive to the dignity and protection of children, proceedings shall be informal, child friendly and allow active participation for all persons who need to be involved in proceedings.”
WV Lesotho and the European Union delegation in Lesotho embarked on a field visit to track progress on the ongoing work to transform the Tšifa-Li-Mali Magistrate Court into a child friendly space, the delegation was led by the EU Head of Delegation, Ambassador Paola Amadei, The Advocacy, Partnering and External Engagement Lead, Mrs. Maseisa Ntlama accompanied by WV Lesotho, EU Delegation and Media representatives. In welcoming the delegation, the Chief Magistrate (a.i) Makhotso Kabi echoed her appreciation on behalf of the Government of Lesotho and the Justice sector on the ongoing rehabilitation of the Tšifa-Li-Mali Magistrate Children’s Court which responds to their vision “to be a judiciary that delivers accessible, swift, quality justice”.
WV Lesotho expressed that through EU Funding and WV Ireland implementation of this three(3) year project; to date CVAVAC has been introduced to seven (7) districts in Lesotho, fourteen (14) CVA child protection teams trained on the accountability model “ Citizens Voice and Action” and delivery of support to advocacy efforts conducted to collect information which informed Protection and Administration of custom on the Initiation Bill , 2022 tabled in parliament in preparation for the enactment.
The EU Head of Delegation applauded the overall work being done through the CVAVAC project and the milestones reached towards empowering citizens, influencing policies and improving service deliveries in the justice Sector and added that as the EU “We will continue to support media engagement initiatives to ensure media participation in spreading the word on ending violence against children.”
Through the implementation of World Vision’s social accountability model Citizen Voice and Action (CVA), CVAVAC aims to target a national audience and successfully engage justice sector authorities, while building necessary structures to engage Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s) in fighting violence against children and making the child appropriate improvements to the justice sector.