Children as partners in disaster rehabilitation

Over 1.6 million children were seriously affected by typhoon Haiyan which struck the Philippines in November 2013. And yet, children are often not within the ‘radar’ of adults when it comes to disaster rehabilitation efforts. If they are, children are often marginalized or, worse, often thought of as beneficiaries, rather than as active participants.

This sentiment was echoed during the one-and-a-half day Social Accountability Orientation of partners of the project “Championing Children’s Rights in Rehabilitation through Government-Civil Society-Children Engagement” -- also known as Project CHARGE -- held at the Hive Hotel in Quezon City on June 25-26.

Forty participants from the Save the Children national office and its partners attended the orientation.

Project CHARGE is a partnership between Save the Children Fund (Sweden) and the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific. It seeks to capacitate key stakeholders in using social accountability tools that will allow continuous dialogue and collaborative decision-making between the government and the civil society.

The intended result is a more effective, child-responsive and inclusive rehabilitation and DRR (disaster risk reduction) processes.

Save the Children Fund (Sweden), with its vision of “A world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation,” sees Project CHARGE as a way to exact accountability from the government by constructively engaging civil society organizations that advance child rights and the children themselves with the government.

The Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific (ANSA-EAP) has partnered with SC to rollout a series of capability building activities tapping local civil society organizations (CSOs) and citizens, specifically groups of young people, as third party monitors of LGU funds specifically intended for the promotion of children’s rights in the context of disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) objectives. Using social accountability (SAc) as an approach, ANSA-EAP will utilize its broad experience on constructive engagement and citizen monitoring.

 Among the topics discussed were social accountability concepts, principles, frameworks, and competencies in relation to child governance and DRRM;  the interface between and among children’s rights, DRRM, good governance, and social accountability as framework for Project CHARGE.

Participants also identified social accountability tools and mechanisms to facilitate the engagement between children/citizens and local governments. Finally, they also recommended ways to mainstream social accountability in SC and partners’ programs and projects.