reunification’? In all cases of separation or displacement of children, an adequate birth registration system is vital. An example of a good practice in this regard is the situation after the 2007-2008 post-election violence in Kenya. Through concerted efforts, more than 82% of separated children had been returned to their families by August 2009. With regard to community-based care, foster care and kinship care, good practices exist in a number of countries, including ethiopia, Kenya and malawi. it is noteworthy that in namibia permanent kinship care is embedded in the law. Institutionalisation of children has been documented as having a negative impact on their growth, development and capacity to form attachments and should therefore be avoided wherever possible. Depending on the type of residence and the specific situation of a child, institutional care may be employed on a temporary basis or in the process of family reunification. currently, institutional care is heavily overused as approximately 80 – 90% of children in residential care settings have at least one living parent. In spite of this, evidence indicates that the number of orphanages is on the increase, particularly in countries impacted by high poverty rates, conflict, HIV/
AIDS, displacement or a combination of these factors. In Zimbabwe, which has a high HIV prevalence rate, 24 new orphanages were built between 1996 and 2006, 80% of which were initiated by faith-based groups. It is therefore essential that faith-based organisations be engaged in de-institutionalisation processes. In liberia, the number of orphanages increased from 10 in 1989 to 121 in 1991 due to the war. However, in 2008 at least 117 orphanages still existed, of which more than half were unregistered and unmonitored. Rather than rely heavily on donors and external assistance, African governments should join forces, sharing regional experiences and implementing good practices from neighbouring countries.
NORTH AFRICAN EXPERIENCES
The MENA (Middle East and North Africa) countries have not ratified the hague convention, due to the fact that adoption is prohibited by law in these countries, with the exception of Tunisia. instead, the MENA countries provide for a form of alternative care known as kafalah, which is the commitment to voluntarily take care of the maintenance, education and protection of a minor, in the same way “as a father would do for his son”. 15
Transitioning from Intercountry Adoption