CCR first began as in informal coalition of like-minded organisations in 2004. At the time, children living on the streets in Arusha were regularly being rounded up and detained without cause under an outdated law known as the Removal of Undesirable Persons Act (RUPA). While working at Mkombozi, Shermin Moledina and Kate McAlpine saw a need for a coalition of organisations that could act as a collective voice to fight these round-ups and ensure the safety and rights of children on the streets. The Caucus for Children’s Rights (CCR) came together as this coalition of organizations and instated a case against the Government of Tanzania to repeal this law. The original members of this informal coalition were Mkombozi, East African Law Society, Haki Madini and Legal and Human Rights Centre. The case to repeal RUPA proved to be just the beginning for CCR as it became increasingly clear that there was a large gap in collective advocacy and evidence-based child protection systems work in Tanzania. Over a decade later the case is still in the appeals court and CCR has expanded far beyond collective legal work becoming one of the leading child protection organisations in Tanzania.
Over the years, membership grew to include other organizations in the area of child rights or child protection and CCR became a place for networking, research, strategic thinking, and child protections systems-building work. In 2009 CCR was officially registered as an non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Tanzania. From there CCR deployed an extensive media campaign known as the 50% Campaign that reached hundreds of thousands of Tanzanians through television, radio, print media and community theatre, advocating for the protection and investment in children as the future of the nation. After learning and reflection from our years of advocacy and media work, CCR began a transition in 2014 to move from being a network of organisations to a community of individuals. Our research has shown the immense power of Tanzanian protectors, their need for a communal space of support, and the need to build empathy and ujasiri in the minds of more Tanzanians to protect more and more children.
Our approaches have changed over the years, but our passion for upholding the rights of children has remained our constant motivator. We are an institution that prioritises evidence-based work, and a community of individuals protecting children in Tanzania.
OUR VISION is to CREATE a culture of action, attention, and accountability to children, by first protecting them.
- Mobilizes Tanzanians to discuss, confront, and take actions to protect children
- Builds evidence about what works in child protection
- Informs the Government about the concerns of the community in reference to Child
- Advocates for child protection to be made a national priority
- Supports the global movement to combat child abuse
- Advances the Tanzanian Multi-Sectorial Response to Violence Against Children
- Directly Contributes to the Arusha City Child Protection plan
What We Do
The Caucus for Children’s Rights (CCR) is a community of people protecting children in Tanzania. We are an organization that is innovative, evidence-based and effective. We undertake research and advocacy to demand an investment from the Government in child protection services. We fight harmful behavior towards children by creating awareness, by changing perceptions, and by offering solutions. We innovate child protection solutions that are informed by science, story telling and community needs. CCR is one of the only organization that has invested in credible and in-depth research about how social change occurs in Tanzania. We pride ourselves on being a resource of research that other agencies and individuals can use to inform best practices for protecting children in Tanzania. We use a unique Human Resource model which includes a core secretariat of full-time staff and an array of Independent Professionals with diverse areas of expertise.
What we do:
- Build a Community of individual protectors who support and engage with one another to protect more children
- Raise awareness and facilitate discussions in our wider community through initiatives such as
- Our own community dialogue methodology know as Kesho Cafes
- Community Theatre
- Sharing stories through social media channels of everyday heroes who take action to protect children
- Our interactive CCR Community platform and forums!
- Work with city officials to create an effective child protection system in Arusha
- Support frontline child protection workers through training to better protect children and improve their ability to respond to abuse
- Facilitate workshops to sensitise and capacitate government officials
- Facilitate workshops to bring professionals together and network
- Equip government representatives to lobby for funding for child protection services
- Inform the Government about the concerns of citizens and NGOs advocating for children
- Elevate child protection to be a national priority
Our Theory of Change
CCR’s Theory of Change is based on Dr. McAlpine’s research which studied the mindsets, or worldviews, of those who choose to take action to protect children. She differenciates between protectors, who have an “ujasiri (literally translated to bravery) mindset” and those who do not actively protect, and hold a mindset of “it’s none of my business.” These “warrior activists for children” often must sacrifice, or put themselves in danger in order to protect children. Using this research, CCR’s Theory of Change outlines a strategy to:
- Engage those who do not act to protect children,
- Better equip protectors so they can be more effective,
- Create a nation and community that normalizes protecting children and in turn, influences the government to make protecting children a national priority.
The theory is broken down into 5 interconnected interventions. The assumptions, or the logic of thinking behind each intervention is included, as well as the specific actions to be taken to reach the intervention. The theory also outlines the change that each intervention hopes to bring about. The five interventions are as follows:
CCR recognizes how mindsets affect social change. CCR seeks to involve everyone in the discussion of how social change occurs, and to make our research and findings widely available and accessible. Theory and research findings can be applied to improve strategies that seek to address real life barriers to the realization of child rights. Our research work in this step is fundamental to all of our programming and informs and improves each other intervention in the theory of change.
2. Nurture Empathy
Empathy is a key ingredient in influencing an individual to turn from the “it’s none of my business” mindset, to the “ujasiri minset” in order for more individuals to stand up to protect children for the first time. CCR believes that empathy can be nurtured in adults, and we attempt to foster this through activities such as storytelling – in “video, comic and theatre forms”- to tell protectors’ tales in order to sensitize others to children’s suffering. Stories of suffering and of protection resonate with listeners when they are able to participate in the dialogue. In this way the differences between people can be bridged and more adults will begin to foster the empathy required to bravely protect children and encourage others to protect.
3. Build Community
Building a community of protectors is essential, as all too often those who protect children do so in isolation, and without any support. Differences between individuals needs to be bridged so that they can be brought together into a support network where protectors can share resources and strategies and improve their ability to protect. A community allows for the creation of unified goals, and collective action that on the grand scale will be more effective and sustainable than what isolated individuals could achieve.
4. Develop Toolbox
Protectors often have to improvise strategies to protect children when they are working in isolation and do not know what the best practices may be in ensuring the best interests of children. By developing a toolbox of strategies and actions, and building protectors’ knowledge and skills, individuals can be equipped to act most effectively, and in the best interests of the child. CCR will develop a resources, training courses, and a decision-making tool that will be made accessible and available to all.
5. Institutionalize Services
CCR ultimately seeks to make child protection a national priority of the Government of Tanzania. We recognize that advocacy is difficult and often change happens through small shifts in norms. CCR has confidence that by growing a community that fearlessly protects children and advocates for their rights, the Tanzanian political elite will be influenced to do likewise.
Dr. Kate McAlpine is the founder and Strategy Director for CCR. She studies, and helps people to resolve, the dilemmas that arise from being a responsible citizen in Tanzania. She is a social entrepreneur, strategist and a scholar with twenty years experience working in child protection in Tanzania. She has a PhD from the Faculty of Human and Organizational Development at Fielding Graduate University, and is Associate Faculty at the International Health Department of John Hopkins University, School of Public Health.
Judi Owens is HR Operations and Finance Manager. She manages the Secretariat, independent professionals, interns and service providers. She is action-oriented and her administrative skills mean that legal obligations, labor law, and contractual agreements are in place so that results can be delivered. Judi is responsible for ensuring that CCR operates smoothly, consistently, efficiently and honestly.
Katie Bunten-Wren is CCR’s Program Director. She manages all of CCR’s programmes and Independent Professionals. She is an M&E specialist with over 5 years experience living and working in East Africa, and 9 years experience in non-profit management. She holds a Masters of Sustainable International Development degree from Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management, where she focused on M&E and youth programming. She has focused her career on creating innovative and balanced systems of measuring behavior and attitudinal change surrounding issues of vulnerable children, education, and social change. Her areas of expertise include participatory M&E, building user-friendly M&E systems for grassroots organisations, and youth programming.
Alphael Jackson is CCR’s Finance Administrator. He has worked as an accountant since 2012. He received his degree from Moshi University College of cooperative and Business study (MUCCoBS) and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). He earned an accounting position at MACSNET. After 2 years working as an accountant, he decided to shift to develop his career and joined CCR in 2015 as Finance Administrator. He has a strong ability to maintain tight financial controls and follow accounting procedures in regards to general accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and international financial reporting standards (IFRS). He prides himself on possessing a particular eye for detail which is an essential trait in the position of finance.
Raphael Nyoni is CCR’s Community Manager. He graduated with Bachelor of Arts in Journalism (BAJ) in 2012 from the University of Iringa (formerly known as Tumaini University, Iringa University College). Additionally he obtained a certificate on Leadership in strategic health development from John Hopkins University – Tanzania Centre for Communication Programs (JHU-TCCP). He has 4.5 years of experience in strategic communications in the NGO sector. Previously he has worked as the Assistant Producer and Social Media manager at Well Told Story in Nairobi, Kenya. His role with CCR involves building a community of child protectors and ensuring meaningful participation of these community members. His areas of expertise include Digital Media and Strategic Communication.
Shermin Moledina is CCR’s Child Protection Specialist, working as an Independent Professional. She holds a Masters in Social Work from the University of Chicago and has more than 12 years of experience working in the children’s sector in Tanzania. Shermin has a strong theoretical and practical background in mental health, social work and child protection. She has extensive experience with establishing and managing programs for homeless children and youth and is particularly passionate about creating a society where women and children are valued. Shermin’s skills include designing and facilitating trainings and interventions that are geared towards enhancing the skills of frontline workers. She also has skills in child protection policies and systems development.
Nikita Lodhia is CCR’s graphic designer. She is responsible for designing all our publications and helping design our new community website! As our brand manager she ensures that consistency, quality and effective design elements are in place for all our published work from research papers to our annual report. Niki has been part of the CCR team since 2012.
Roshni Lodhia is CCR’s photographer and filmmaker. She partners with CCR to create inspiring and purposeful videos for child advocacy and educational purposes. She is instrumental in helping us share our research and child protection stories through creative short films.