2010. 9 p.
Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies, 5:2
This study is based on data collected from community development facilitators using open-ended questionnaires and group discussions. Four general types of cultural practices were identified by interviewees as posing risks to children and challenges to child protection work: marriage practices, rites of passage or rituals, family secrets and religious or spiritual practices. The major implication of the findings is that an understanding of cultural practices is essential for the success of child protection responses in communities, especially with regard to child protection advocacy work that focuses upon harmful cultural practices. Community child protection interventions should also include an intentional focus upon children who are especially vulnerable or isolated due to some harmful cultural practices. However, as cultural issues are sensitive, child protection responses should be built upon positive aspects of people's cultural practices, which can then become entry points for engaging with other cultural practices that may be harmful to children. Community development facilitators also need to be trained to deal with those difficult cultural issues they face when working in communities. Because of the cultural dynamics to child protection issues, existing child protection interventions or responses need to be contextualized to various cultural environments of children. Also, child protection interventions need to take a long-term view, as they involve dealing with sensitive cultural issues that are an integral part of community life and are difficult to change.
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