Law reform campaigns
The Children's Institute (CI) was established at the University of Cape Town with the specific intention to harness the collective institutional capabilities related to child-focused academic endeavours in fields of research, teaching and development. Evidence-based advocacy forms an important continuum with these activities and is the vehicle by which we maximise the impact of academic endeavours on the policy and practise environment.
The CI is currently the only academic unit in the country that focuses exclusively on children's policy. The CI's involvement in national policy and law-drafting processes takes various forms:
- Assistance provided to the government ranges from drafting policies or providing evidence and advice to decision-makers tasked with drafting policies, to participating in formal opportunities for comment and submissions on laws in-the-making.
- Support to civil society ranges from providing alliances with research evidence, assisting alliances with communication and advocacy infrastructure and strategies, and training organisations and individuals on rights-based advocacy methodologies.
Examples of the Institute's contribution to national policy and law-drafting processes include:
- Initiating national policy processes by identifying a policy need and advocating that the government drafts the required policy (for example the Policy Guidelines for Children Experiencing or at Risk of Orphanhood, National Policy on Chronic Diseases).
- Receiving commissions from the government to draft national policies (for example the National School Health Care Policy Guidelines).
- Advising the government on policy and law reform (social security policy reform, Social Assistance Act and its regulations, Children's Bill).
- Participating in formal opportunities for public input such as public hearings at Parliament and calls for comments by the Executive (Children's Bill, National Health Bill, Firearms Control Bill).
- Supporting, participating in and advising social movements aimed at policy and law reforms that benefit children (Treatment Action Campaign, Alliance for Children's Entitlement to Social Security, Children's HIV/AIDS Network and the Basic Income Grant Coalition).