past 12 months ago

Starts: Wednesday, 4 November, 2015 12:00am

Ends: Wednesday, 4 November, 2015 03:00am

Event Details

Call for Papers for the Child Sensitive Social Policies Conference 2015
‘Tracking child rights in Africa through research’

Over the past decade, there has been an increased international focus on child poverty, social inclusion, and the protection of African children. It has thus become common for govern¬ments on the continent to present strategies and action plans intended to: address child vulnerability stemming from various factors; protect the physical and emotional integrity of children from harmful practices; create an inclusive environment for all children to develop and participate in all spheres of life and the health and food security. There have thus been calls for and a movement towards comprehensive, multi and inter-sectoral interventions in cooperation with a broad cross section of stakeholders
Call for papers
The Women’s University in Africa, supported by UNICEF Zimbabwe and the Swedish International Developmental Cooperation Agency (SIDA), invites all child rights stakeholders who include scholars in child sensitive social policies, researchers, law and policy makers, civil society, international agencies and service providers to the second Child Sensitive Social Policies Conference – 2015,Harare, Zimbabwe.

Conference objectives
The Conference – themed - ‘Tracking child rights through research’:
• Offers this multiplicity of child rights stakeholders an opportunity to engage with the trending factors that increase the susceptibility of children to various forms of abuse, violence, neglect and exploitation.
• Provides a platform for interaction on the marginalisation of vulnerable children and the effectiveness of interventions which address child poverty and social exclusion.
• Keeping with the right to be heard and taken seriously, this conference provides a rare platform for the children themselves to engage directly with all stakeholders on issues that affect them.
• Time has been allocated for lively interactions between delegates through round table break away sessions and other activities to discuss the translation of child rights policy into practice.
It is hoped that this conference will culminate in innovative and feasible approaches to child welfare and development in Africa, with measurable outputs, which may be integrated into government and private initiatives.

The papers will be presented in sessions based on the themes below
• Track 1 – Protecting our children from violence, exploitation and abuse
• Track 2 – Nutrition and Food security and health for children
• Track 3 –Assessing progress towards the fulfilment of international child rights principles

Track 1: Protecting our children from violence, exploitation and abuse
The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women enshrine the right of all children and women to live in a respectful, supportive family environment that is free from violence, abuse, exploitation and discrimination. Children living and working on the streets, living in institutions and coming in contact with the law have been exposed to various forms of abuse and neglect with the girl child often finding herself at the receiving end of gender based violence in her own home, perpetrated by the very people who should be protecting her. The increase of internal and international migration particularly in the Southern African region has also seen children becoming victims of all forms of exploitation, neglect and abuse. With the age of technology, the unfettered access of children to the internet has further exposed children to sexual predators that abuse or co-opt them into the world of pornography and trafficking for sexual exploitation.

Objectives and scope
The objectives of this track are to deliberate on child protection measures in all spheres of life with a view of strengthening child protection systems; promoting positive social norms in all contexts including development and emergency; and to prevent and respond to violence, exploitation and abuse directed at children. The track will address issues relating to the following:
• Gender-based violence against children
• Discipline and positive parenting
• Child Prostitution
• Sexual violence (Consent to sex and marriage)
• Electronic and media risk
• Protection of children in contact with the law and as victims of crime

Track 2- Nutrition and Food security and health for children

The right to health of children as enshrined in the UNCRC and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the child is an inclusive right extending not only to timely and appropriate health care but also to the underlying determinants of health, such as access to safe and potable water and adequate sanitation, an adequate supply of safe food, nutrition and housing, healthy occupational and environmental conditions, and access to health related education and information, including on sexual and reproductive health. Household food insecurity has insidious effects on the health and development of young children including poor health, malnutrition and stunting. These concerns early in life increase children’s risk of poor school readiness, poor school performance and subsequent health disparities and poverty.

Objectives and scope
This conference will have a technical focus, highlighting approaches and lessons from programmes, policies, research and advocacy for improving child health, food access and nutrition, particularly in the face of climate change. The track will hence focus on the following issues:
• Access to health and health care services
• Neonatal and child mortality
• Child malnutrition and stunting
• Access to contraception for sexually active children
• Food and nutrition security in the face of climate change

Track 3 - Assessing progress towards the fulfilment of international child rights principles
It has been 25 years since the international community adopted the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which established global standards to ensure the protection, survival, and development of all children, without discrimination. By ratifying the Convention, States took on obligations to take action to ensure the realization of all rights in the Convention for all children in their jurisdiction, by taking ‘all appropriate legislative, administrative and other measures’ for implementation of the rights contained in the instrument. States are also obliged to report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child (and the African Committee of Experts on the Rights of the Child), within two years of ratification, and then every five years. The measures that are needed for effective implementation are legislation, the establishment of coordinating and monitoring bodies – governmental and independent – comprehensive data collection, awareness-raising and training and the development and implementation of appropriate policies, services and programmes. In the context of the Convention, States must see their role as fulfilling clear legal obligations to each and every child.

Objectives and Scope
This track is intended to provide an opportunity for stakeholders to reflect on state performance in the following areas: alignment of national law;policy and interventions with international standards; the creation of institutional mechanisms for coordination, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of child rights policy; and in child(and gender) sensitive budgeting.

The following issues will be discussed in this track:
• Legal and policy development on children
• Social Change towards respect for children’s rights
• Budgetary analysis and allocation of necessary resources
• Analysing child focused indicators
• Reporting to treaty bodies
• Appropriate training and awareness-raising

Break away sessions-
There will be break away sessions intended to break the monotony of the plenary sessions and allow delegates to engage with each other in groups on issues raised in the track sessions.


In line with international law, governments have made some effort in putting in place various interventions through policy, law and programmes to address the many problems children face. However, the burgeoning number of children in need presents an increasingly complex situation for the country’s social services and other government departments. There will therefore be a Roundtable discussion between government and non-state actors to engage on the latest interventions in supporting child welfare. It is hoped, that by so doing, government departments will have an opportunity to connect with and empower relevant stake holders that work to serve a common purpose with government in addressing the plight of children. Through the participation of researchers/academics, civil society from the floor, it is hoped that participating government departments, will also gain insights on the current situation on the ground. It is hoped that by the end of the round table discussions, there will be clarity on the current areas of progress by government, the gaps and challenges, and recommendations for action which strengthen and advance effective partnership initiatives between government and service providers and other relevant stakeholders.

Conference Structure
There will be keynote addresses, plenary sessions where experts in the child rights field will address the delegates; conference paper presentations and posters presentations (selected through the abstract reviewing process); and break-away sessions. In keeping with this important child rights principle on the right of children to participate in matters that affect them, four children of diverse backgrounds and abilities will be given an opportunity to address and engage with the conference delegates in a plenary session wholly dedicated to them, to air their views on any of the areas covered in the sub - themes. This is in addition to the open participation of children throughout the conference and efforts will be made to have as many children present.

There will be a total of 4 guest speakers at the opening and closing ceremonies; 4 plenary presentations; 12 Conference papers; 4 child presentations. There will also be 15 poster presentations derived from the selected submissions and a breakaway session where delegates will discuss in three groups the issues coming out of each of the track presentations.

Registration and Abstract Submission Procedures
The conference uses an online registration and abstract submission system. Registration and abstract submission forms and instructions for submission may be found at the following link:
An applicant may submit a maximum of two abstracts. If the abstract submission is successful, applicants will get an email containing confirmation and an abstract ID from the conference content committee.
The submitted abstract should consist of 800 – 1000 words including key words. The abstract must contain, at least the following:
(i) Research objective(s),
(ii) Literature review
(iii) Methodology
(iv) Findings and analysis

The author’s brief biography should not be longer than 100 words.
Submit your abstract to

Poster text should be of maximum 350 words, containing the research background, methodology and main findings. The authors must submit 5 photos, including captions, illustrating the content of the poster.

Selected Papers for Conference Presentation
The decision made by the selection committee is indisputable. Each paper must be based on sound analysis of empirical evidence/research findings and include policy recommendations.
Selection criteria
• Completeness of the abstract: Suitability of content with the selected theme;’ understanding of the issues, Accuracy of the theory of the study, Completeness, Policy recommendations and Sharpness of analysis;
• Appropriateness of research methodology: use of reliable quantitative and/qualitative data, analytical strength/depth
• Contribution to the policy making process: recommendation for executive and legislative branches, possibly of having policy impact, workability of policy recommendations, applicability of evidence based advocacy and contribution to more evidence based policy
• Writing system: Comprehensiveness and completeness of reference
Important Deadlines
• Registration opens 14June 2015
• Regular Registration Closes 2November 2015 (Late Registration may be done on site from 4 – 6 November 2015)
• Abstract Submission opens19 June 2015
• Abstract Submissions closes: 30 July 2015
• Announcement of Selected abstracts: 4 August 2015
• Submission of Full Papers for Journal: 15 September 2015
• Submission of Power-point Presentations: 15 October 2015

For more information about the CSSP Conference please contact: Ms Chrystobel Thompson (CSSP Marketing & Communications Officer) at; Cell: +263 775 226 294 or visit:, CSSP Programme; @csspzimbabwe

For information about abstract submission, please contact the CSSP Programme Coordinator and Research Board Chair: Dr Tendai Nhenga-Chakarisa at; Cell: +263 77 55 30 992

For information about travel and accommodation please contact. Ms Tsungai Nondo at; Cell: +263 77 22 78 216