All children have the right to be protected from violence, exploitation and abuse.
All children have the right to be protected from violence, exploitation and abuse.

Protecting the rights of migrant and refugee children in Egypt

Kanako Sakae (Japan) served as a UN Volunteer Child Protection Specialist with the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Egypt from 2020 to 2021. Her UN Volunteer assignment was funded by the Human Resource Development Programme for Peacebuilding and Development.

Egypt hosted more than 250,000 registered refugees and asylum seekers in 2021. Most came from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan and Syria, and about 38 per cent of these refugees were under the age of 18.

Commonly, refugees and asylum seekers live in rented apartments in urban centers in Egypt, making them vulnerable to fluctuating economic conditions and poverty. Many child protection issues exist in these circumstances, such as insecure accommodation, increased risk of detention, discrimination, physical and sexual violence and inaccessible essential healthcare. 

Kanako supported the planning, implementation and management of UNICEF's Children on the Move programme. 

Initiated in 2013, the programme was a response to the influx of Syrian refugees and aims to protect all children, regardless of nationality, legal status and refugee status. It is geared to provide uninterrupted support throughout the migration cycle.  

In her UN Volunteer assignment, Kanako focused on case management, assistance for detained children, system strengthening, positive parenting, psychological support and cross-border cooperation. She also reviewed donor proposals and prepared humanitarian response reports and child protection advocacy documents. 

Kanako is a great staff member with strong skills. A very fast learner who quickly understood how Child Protection programmes work with UNICEF, Kanako completed her tasks in a proficient and timely manner and was always ready to help. Working with UNV was a great experience. --Denise Ulwor, Chief of Child Protection, UNICEF, Egypt 

Being a UN Volunteer during the pandemic time was challenging for Kanako. However, the opportunities to grow and broaden her horizons kept her moving forward.

The experiences I gained in my assignment in the areas of diplomacy, politics and international child protection are invaluable. --Kanako Sakae, UN Volunteer Child Protection Specialist with UNICEF, Egypt