Rethinking Child Protection in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Paradigm Shift Toward Community and Neighborhood-Based Approaches

Alhassan Abdullah, Lucy P. Jordan, Clifton R. Emery

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The last few decades has seen considerable research attention and calls for reforms in child protection approaches and frameworks. Overwhelmingly, evidence points toward the identification of culturally-relevant child protection frameworks that address the unique child and family welfare-related problems of different countries. This chapter contributes to the growing discourse and burgeoning literature by arguing for a systemic shift in the framework of child protection toward community and neighborhood-based mechanisms that relies on cultural resources and informal social control measures. With evidence of strong collectivist and communal commitments in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), a community and neighborhood-based approach provides an ideal structure to model a system of child protection that conforms to the social, economic, and cultural context of SSA countries. Such a model should be developed in consideration of the pivotal role of informal social control strategies, and the fundamental orientation of enhancing cultural values and norms which promote preventive measures and neighbors’ response to child maltreatment.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Global Social Problems
EditorsRajendra Baikady, S. M. Sajid, Jaroslaw Przeperski, Varoshini Nadesan, M. Rezaul Islam, Jianguo Gao
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-68127-2
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-68127-2
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Child protection
  • Community-based child protection
  • Child protection in Africa
  • Informal social control


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