The Fantsuam Foundation Social Protection service was created in response to identified needs in our host communities in Kafanchan. It became apparent that two groups of vulnerable persons in the host communities were more often accused and/or attacked with accusations of witchcraft. The trauma and distress caused for such individuals, the disregard of their basic human rights and disrespect for their humanity were issues that led us to create a social protection unit. The two groups that were more often attacked, were the elderly women and children. As a result of our intervention strategies, we developed the first in-house Child Protection policy in northern Nigeria. This policy sets out our values and strategies for the security and protection of children.
As a result of the widely publicized intervention strategies of Fantsuam Foundation, several suspected cases of physical or emotional abuse of the elderly and children are routinely referred to us. Our prompt response has given assurance to our host communities that all cases reported to us will be investigated within 24 hours and appropriate measures taken to ensure the immediate safety of the grandmother or child, and a follow-up of socio-cultural and legal interventions as appropriate. Our priority is always an immediate relocation of the person-at-risk to a safer environment while investigation is undertaken. This requires access to safe homes, families and individuals who are able to provide such facilities at short notice. Detailed documentation and confidentiality is maintained in all cases. We have recorded appreciable successes in several cases. The ultimate goal is the re-integration of such persons back into their families and communities. This necessarily entails a multistakeholder engagement over period of time. We have cases of children whom we have to relocate to far away locations for their safety, while we make time to raise awareness about the various issues of concern with their families. Our experience so far, is that with time, and with focused engagement with the victim's community and family, it is usually possible to initiate a reconciliation and reunion. The key words here are persistence, time and holistic support for the victim and their families.
Fantsuam Foundation is the first organization in northern Nigeria to develop its own Child Rights and Child Protection Policy and Procedure. Fantsuam Foundation launched the Policy at the inauguration of Nigeria’s First Rural Children’s Parliament in 2008. The Policy is part of a suite of services, which include Training in how to handle children's issues, Child Rescue procedure and Provision of safe and secure accommodation, Legal Support, Children and Money, Child Carers, Child-headed households, Children's nutrition, Education, and Children's Environmental Health.
The Foundation works within the framework and principles of the Child Rights Act 2003 of Nigeria and the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child. These are reflected in our recruitment, training, codes of conduct, Good practice Principles and Child Protection procedures. We also operate a Risk Reduction checklist and undertake screening of staff or volunteers working with children.