GIS - October 26, 2012: The Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, Mrs Mireille Martin, called for a transformational change and a paradigm shift towards a more dedicated intervention and collective responsibility in the best interests of children and their families.
The Minister was speaking at the signature of six Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) between the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare and stakeholders engaged in child protection and development held yesterday at the Conference Room of the Ministry in Port Louis. Mrs Martin also urged signatories to assume full ownership for actions in areas falling under their purview with regard to child protection and development.
The MoU set in place effective working-together mechanisms to ensure that each stakeholder involved in child protection and development takes full responsibility and ownership and is accountable for services falling under its scope of action. The signature of these documents is one of the main recommendations of the Working-Together Committee set up in December 2010 by the Ministry. The main purpose of the Committee is to establish a more coordinated, holistic and comprehensive service delivery approach that focuses on fostering collaboration between and within different service delivery sectors and collectively address the continuum of needs of vulnerable children from birth to 18 years.
To encourage a multi-agency cooperation approach, the Committee deemed necessary to review the existing Protocol of Collaboration, set up in 2003 to define and coordinate the process of collaboration among stakeholders, namely governmental institutions, non-governmental institutions and community organisations working for Child Protection and Development. The Committee then proposed to enlist the support of new stakeholders and to fine-tune guidelines in a bid to facilitate and ensure proper operation of the Protocol into specific Memorandum of Understanding with each stakeholder concerned.
The Committee is chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare and comprises senior officials from 15 key Ministries and Departments as members. Following various sub-meetings of the Working-Together Committee as well as Technical Working Sessions to determine the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder, the agreed proposals were incorporated in the MoU. The signatories comprise the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Civil Status Division of the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Education and Human Resources, the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life, the Attorney General’s Office and the National Children’s Council. It is expected that by December, four more institutions will sign the MoU.