Regional consultation on strengthening social service workforce in MENA kicks off
30/09/2019 19:21, TUNIS/Tunisia

(TAP)- A three-day regional consultation on strengthening the social service workforce, hosted by the UNICEF Middle East and North Africa Regional Office with support from the Global Social Service Workforce Alliance and the World Bank began on Monday in Hammamet, with the participation of 12 countries.

On the sidelines of the opening session, Minister of Social Affairs Mohamed Trabelsi told TAP "the eradication of violence, terrorism and the reduction of extremism and migration hinges on the fight against social disparities, the establishment of social peace, as well as the protection of children in regions, as this vulnerable group of the population is the most exposed to violence".

"The MENA is the region of all contradictions," said Trabelsi, noting that "although it is among the richest in the world, it is plagued by difficulties that translate into rates of social disparity, illiteracy, poverty, unemployment and inequality, considered among the highest in the world".

For his part, Deputy Regional Director "UNICEF-MENA" Bertrand Bainvel said that social service workforce are at the heart of the child protection system, noting that this regional workshop is a prelude to the development of a network of organisations and social service workforce to make economic and social inclusion and poverty reduction efforts more effective.

He added that the results of a study on the role of social service workers in the region will help identify good practices and benefit from them to contribute to the development of more effective child protection legislation, especially in a region marked by numerous humanitarian crises.

According to UNICEF, four out of five children between the ages of 2 and 14 in the MENA region are victims of violence, 14 million children are out of school, and 29 million live below the poverty line.

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