© Besnard/Apprentis d'Auteuil

Celebrating 20 years of partnership with REIPER

"Partnership is also powered by the individuals who drive it. Our continued association with Apprentis d'Auteuil stems from the positive aspects it brings. They help us grow and thrive as a civil society and as individuals."
Joseph Likibi

Coordinator and Co-founder of REIPER.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the impactful partnership between Apprentis d'Auteuil and REIPER (Réseau d’Intervention Pour les Enfants en Rupture), a leading force in child protection in the Republic of Congo. Joseph Likibi, the coordinator and co-founder of this network, shares the origin story of the partnership, which has significantly enriched the landscape of civil society devoted to child protection in Congo. It has now become an indispensable player in safeguarding the welfare of children.

The Genesis of the Partnership:

When REIPER was founded, it consisted of six member organizations. Today, this network comprises 23 member organizations and provides care and support to nearly 1,000 children. These member associations collectively cover a broad spectrum of actions, ranging from caring for children in street situations and children with disabilities to indigenous children, victims of violence, and orphans.

The establishment of this network primarily addressed the shortage of qualified and trained personnel working in children's shelters. As Mr. Likibi explains, 

"Most individuals engaged in child protection primarily did so on a voluntary basis, driven by personal vocation, and often lacked formal qualifications"

In the beginning, this need was met through collaboration with Apprentis d'Auteuil. The initial training focused on issues related to children in street situations. Over time, the partnership expanded to encompass a wide array of topics, including emotional, relational, and sexual education, as well as advocacy. Over the years, the partnership also evolved into creating and executing collaborative projects.

Supporting Highly Vulnerable Children:

The network's activities are diverse, but they primarily concentrate on the well-being of children in street situations. These children frequently face severe violations of their fundamental rights, such as sleeping in unsanitary street conditions, struggling to access food and clothing, and obtaining necessary medical care. Additionally, they are often subjected to violence, maltreatment, and abuse.

Regular street outreach initiatives are consistently organized in Brazzaville to provide assistance to these young individuals and offer them a place within the shelter facilities managed by member associations. The network has also recently introduced an emergency hotline to respond to situations involving children in dire need.

The fact that the partnership with Apprentis d'Auteuil is commemorating its 20th anniversary this year is a testament to the harmonious balance found by both organizations: it thrives on principles of attentive collaboration, mutual respect, and transparent communication. This collaboration continues to develop through three ambitious projects: The digital notebooks for social work , Lisanga Po Na Bana, and the ADAC project. These initiatives combine social worker training, the care of street children, and advocacy efforts in support of children's rights.