Child Safeguarding Training for PEPFAR Partners
Any organization that deals with children, either directly or indirectly, should have a child protection policy stating that the organization is committed to keeping children safe and describing how the organization will implement standards that create a safe and positive environment for children. This means ensuring that staff, volunteers and others associated with the projects and programs do not abuse children. It also means ensuring that the design and implementation of projects and programs do not inadvertently present a risk of abuse to those children participating in them.
Towards this goal, the AIDSTAR-One project, together with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), commissioned Keeping Children Safe (KCS), an international member organization that focuses on child safeguarding, to deliver training to PEPFAR partners to support them to develop and implement organizational child protection policies and procedures. The overall aim of the training was to increase understanding of the problem of child abuse and enable participants to strengthen, develop, and implement protection measures in their organizations in order to support keeping children safe. The objectives of each training session was as follows:
- To increase knowledge and understanding of child abuse and what is required to keep children safe, with a particular focus on children living with HIV/AIDS
- To develop a common sense of purpose amongst participants on strategies and approaches to ensure high quality and consistent implementation of child protection measures throughout their organizations
- To review current safeguarding measures within participating organizations and consider what other child protection measures may be necessary
- To consider the challenges of building safe environments for children with particular reference to HIV, disability, culture, and gender issues
- To support integration of child protection into all areas of activity of within participating organizations and carry out practical planning
Throughout 2011 and 2012, AIDSTAR-One and KCS successfully delivered these trainings to participants in Nigeria, Swaziland, Ethiopia, South Africa, Lesotho, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, Haiti, Tanzania and Malawi. Overall, more than 350 participants were trained throughout the ten countries. In most of the workshops, participants represented management, human resources, and program staff, which provided for strong experience-sharing across departments and organizations. Evaluations from all countries showed high satisfaction with the training.
Additionally, the AIDSTAR-One OVC team along with USAID and KCS, presented a workshop at the International AIDS Society 2012 meeting. The workshop, Child Safeguarding and HIV: Strengthening, Developing and Implementing Organizational Child Safeguarding Policies and Procedures, aimed to build the skills of leaders within the HIV field to strengthen, develop, and implement effective child safeguarding policies within HIV programs, particularly those programs targeting OVC. By the end of the workshop, participants understood the rationale for safeguarding children; analyzed their organizations’ existing safeguarding measures; and outlined preliminary action plans for strengthening measures. Feedback from the session was highly positive.
For more information and resources on child safeguarding, please visit Keeping Children Safe UK online.