Advocacy for Child Justice (ACJ) is a Non-Government Organization that uses an issue-based approach to advocate for the rights and best interests of children who come into conflict with the law. The organization operates out of its head office in Lusaka, Zambia.
ACJ was originally established as Advocacy for Juvenile Justice (AJJ) in May of 2004 and was registered later that year in November. AJJ became operational in 2009, working as a national NGO advocating for the rights of children who come into conflict with the Zambian law. AJJ was founded as a response to the gaps identified in the fight for children’s’ rights in the juvenile justice systems. Its establishment and registration was seconded by the then Child Justice Forum (JCF) leadership, which is now under judiciary. AJJ underwent the name change to ACJ in 2014 to reflect the legislative changes happening in Zambia. These legislative changes labeled all those under the age of 18 as children instead of juveniles, thus the name change. ACJ is also a member of Children in Need Network (CHIN) Zambia National Education Coalition (ZANEC) and Zambia Civic Education Association (ZCEA).
ACJ Zambia is committed to addressing the problem of children that come into conflict with the law, children of the incarcerated mothers or circumstantial children living in prison with their mothers, and promoting the rights of children in Zambia. ACJ facilitates programs which strive to shape a society free from all forms of child injustice, thereby providing equal opportunities for Zambian children to achieve their desired goals and aspirations. These programs include providing legal aid services and social development programmes at the community and national level. ACJ believes that creating a community that is knowledgeable and sensitized about children’s rights, as well as the consequences for violating these rights, are the way to protect children.
A society free from all forms of child injustice thereby providing equal opportunities for children
to achieve their desired goals and aspirations in Zambia.
To alleviate all forms of child injustice by providing legal aid services and social development
programs at community and national level.
ACJ believes that creating a community that is adequately knowledgeable about children’s rights
and is well sensitized about different forms of children’s rights violations and is best prepared to
care and protect children.
1.4 Core Values of ACJ
In order to achieve the aforesaid vision, mission and objectives, ACJ shall be anchored on ten
core values namely: 1. Honest, 2. equity, 3. transparency, 4. accountability, 5. mutual respect,
6. professionalism, 7. commitment, 8. team work, 9. networking and, 10. Confidentiality
The strategic focus of ACJ for the period 2009-2014 is on the following areas and actions:
1.5 Mode of work
Owing to the complexity of the problems of children’s justice; protection and the law, the
organization’s intervention embraces issue-based approaches. The issue based approach gives ACJ
leverage to intervene in any problem that is within its mandate as stipulated within her objectives,
mission, vision and values that form the bedrock of this strategic intervention and programming in
the following thematic areas:
1. Physical violence against children in conflict with the law.Mitigation of impact of HIV/AIDS on circumstantial children and other children in conflict with the law.
2. Early Childhood Development (ECD) for children of incarcerated mothers.
3. Psycho-social support for children in conflict with the law and at risk of continued delinquency.
4. Establish centers for the children.
5. Access to justice for the children that come into conflict with the law.
6.Capacity building of role players in the justice system
When Zambia ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991, the nation made a promise to its children. Zambia’s promise stated that they would do everything in their power to protect and promote their rights to survival, to learn and grow, and to allow their voices to be heard in order to reach their full potential through quality development.
Advocacy for Child Justice works to maintain this promise by consistently advocating for children and providing them with opportunities to strive. Children are considered among a vulnerable population because they do not have a strong voice within society. ACJ advocates for children by speaking out in favor of them as they seek enforcement of their most basic human rights. Children are not to be considered less than, or less important because of their biological age or maturity.
Four Core Guiding Principles in Dealing with Juvenile Justice :
2. Devotion to the best interest of the child
3. Right to life, survival and development
4. Respect for the views of the child