CIVIL SOCIETY NETWORKS AND ACADEMIA REFLECT ON PROGRESS AND FUTURE STEPS TO STRENGTHEN THE NATIONAL PROTECTION SYSTEM IN PANAMA
Panama, January 31, 2023. Representatives of civil society organizations were gathered by Save the Children and the European Union to reflect on the progress and achievements of the Panama Protectora project, which for 18 months has promoted actions related to the protection of children and adolescents in the country, especially those under institutional care.
Among the main achievements, the articulation and empowerment of civil society organizations that work with children and adolescents was highlighted, with the participation of more than 600 representatives of this sector in the various training and awareness activities of the project.
Emphasis was placed on the value for civil society organizations of obtaining tools to develop systems for safeguarding children and adolescents, and to deepen their understanding of the issue of comprehensive child protection systems.
The representatives of civil society, who participated in the reflection session, stated that the Panama Protectora project entered the scene at a key moment to promote spaces for conversation and joint construction necessary to face the challenges of the transformation processes required by the protection system for children and adolescents in the country.
The participants in the session expressed their commitment to continue building and working together through existing networks for the welfare of children and adolescents in the country. They also noted that Panama Protectora has strengthened the capacities required to face the challenges of the processes of change and construction of a more robust and efficient protection system.
Karla Pinder, manager of the Panama Protectora project said: "From Save the Children we are very grateful and pleased to have collaborated with the work of networks of children and adolescents in Panama. The fact that REDNANIAP, Aliados por la Niñez together with the Academy and the Ecumenical Committee are in the same space is an important step to define joint actions for the protection of children and adolescents in Panama".
The Panama Protectora project also worked directly with institutional care centers with the technical support of Relaf, an expert organization in Latin America and the Caribbean in promoting policies and practices that guarantee the right of children and adolescents in the region to live in a family and community.
Through this collaboration, 45 officials of the National Secretariat for Children, Adolescents and the Family (SENNIAF) and the Ministry of Social Development (MIDES) worked together to establish guidelines for the safe discharge of children and adolescents from these centers, as part of the plan to transform the child and adolescent care system.
In the judicial area, the project involved the participation of 235 officials of the Judiciary System in sessions that made it possible to identify the challenges faced by this State organ in the implementation of a protection system that prioritizes the articulation of all the actors involved in children's issues and the rethinking of the role of children's judges.
Children and adolescents were also protagonists of Panama Protectora. They participated in consultation and intergenerational exchange sessions, which addressed issues related to the fulfillment of their rights, especially the right to live in a family. In this sense, the project provided a space for conversation and exchange between children and adolescents and the Ombudsman. During the implementation of the Panama Protectora project, a digital communication campaign called "Crece Conmigo" was also developed, which reinforced the importance of enforcing the rights of children and adolescents and highlighted the importance of child protection and the right to live in a family. You can learn more about the campaign by visiting: panamaprotectora.org.