The first phase of the four year period of the ACCP came to an end on 31st December 2014. As one of the project close out activities, a final evaluation was undertaken. The evaluation undertook an independent assessment of the project performance; identified key successes and or achievements, lessons, good practices and recommended follow-up actions in the subsequent phase and/or similar intervention. According to the findings of an external evaluation of the ACCP, it found out that: The capacity of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child - ACERWC (the Committee)to implement its strategic plan had been strengthened. Specifically, the evaluation report noted:
- A more strengthened Committee with increased capacity to deliver its mandate of overseeing the implementation of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC). The project enhanced this through the provision of direct and indirect support, which included financial, human resources, technical assistance and capacity building to implement a majority of its activities as per its strategic plan
- Increased visibility of the Committee through support of the development and implementation of its communications plans that enhanced the production of various publications and information on the Committee as well as its activities. Such support also saw a revamp in the Committee’s website and increased interaction with civil society in the promotion of children’s rights in Africa.
- Increased confidence of the Committee to do its work and engage many parties throughout Africa and beyond as indicated by additional work being undertakenby the Committee, and engagement of Governments and civil society through the Committee’s work that encompasses its protection and promotion mandates.
During the four year (2011 -2014) implementation period, the project also aimed at promoting children’s rights and welfare in African Union institutions, bodies and mechanisms; drawing from the findings of the final evaluation, the following were remarkable achievements herein.
- The rights of children are increasingly being looked into in more circumstances by various AU organs and Regional Economic Communities as can be indicated by the calling upon the Committee’s participation and utilising their expertise in various forums related to child rights monitoring and governance in Africa.
- Formal collaboration agreements have been reached with institutions that are key to furthering implementation of the rights of the child, for example with the AU’s Permanent Representative Council (PRC) and the Peace and Security Council (PSC); and African Regional Economic Bodies (RECs).
- The establishment of a strong formal tripartite relationship between the Committee, the African Court of Human and People’s Rights and the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, where Children’s rights are progressively being considered.
With the aim of strengthening civil society to use AU mechanisms, and especially the ACERWC’s mechanisms, to promote children’s rights and welfare in Africa, the ACCP has achieved the following results.
- CSOs have been able to increasingly utilise the institutions and mechanisms relevant to their work on children’s rights and wellbeing within the AUC due to improved knowledge of the AU and its processes.
- Through complementary activities carried out by the different members of the ACCP, the ACERWC has become more accessible to the CSOs in Africa. Specifically, the ACERWC is more open and more receptive to the CSOs. More CSOs attend the sessions of the ACERWC, participate in the pre-sessions and submit complementary reports to the ACERWC. Through the different recommendations made by CSOs through the CSO Forum, the working methods of the ACERWC have significantly improved and the ACERWC is now in a better position to discharge its mandate effectively.
- Furthermore, the ACCP provided the first opportunity in the African human rights system when an African treaty body and a group of civil society organisations comprehensively partnered together to improve the plights of the beneficiaries of the treaty body in question. This model further enhances a better understanding between the CSOs and ACERWC, increases trust and develops a feeling of true partnership