Historic of WAN

WAN’s vision is to connect West Africa child protection systems to better identify, protect, monitor and reintegrate children on the move between west Africa countries. Its mission is to mobilize and build capacities of West African countries to support the minors traveling in vulnerable situations and ensure their social educational or professional reintegration.

WAN started in 2002 as West Africa Program (WAP) conducted by International Social Service – Switzerland. The pilot project involved three countries: Guinea Bissau, Mali and Senegal, the program progressively extends to the 16 countries in the western African area.

The Network has two annual meetings:

  • Steering committee (COPIL) , a strategic meeting which brings together national directions of child protection, technical partners of WAN and the ECOWAS Commission on the rights of children,
  • Regional coordination meeting that addresses operational thematic implementation of WAN; it brings together members of national coordination NGOs of WAN.

In 2005, the program holds its first strategic meeting, which brings together member of NGOs, national directions of child protection, technical and financial partners as International Social Service Switzerland (ISS Ch) and SDC, in Bamako. Over the meetings and years, new members join the project: Burkina Faso, Republic of Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire in 2007, Niger in 2008, The Gambia in 2009. In 2011 WAN goes one step further and participate in the ECOWAS commission on child protection; The Copil meeting of the same year takes place in Ghana and registers memberships from Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana. Sierra Leone, Liberia and Cape Verde, joined the following year, while WAN was participating for the second time at the ECOWAS Commission. Finally in 2015, Mauritania last country in the West African region joined the project. The project in the mean time moves from WAP to WAN (West Africa Network for Child Protection).

WAN operates at three levels:

1)      at children, families and communities levelWAN supports children from identification in vulnerable situations to their social professional and/or educational reintegration. It supports the family/community in different projects to empower them to guarantee decent socio – economic conditions to reduce the risk of departure, to help families to better take care of their children

2)      at professionals social workers level WAN work to build a network for the actors at national, transnational and regional level of child protection, and also contribute to create cooperation between national protection systems; it offers common procedures for child protection in vulnerable situations while in mobility

3)      at the authorities (system) levelWAN struggles for the integration of component of children and youth protection in the development of migration policies and in their implementation at the West Africa sub-region (ECOWAS); it also wants to contribute to the implementation of bilateral and multilateral agreements in the fight against child and youth trafficking and mobility