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Safeguarding matters: find out how we ensure people we help are protected

POSTED December 6, 2021

Safeguarding matters: find out how we ensure people we help are protected

Learn about Children Believe’s plan to keep vulnerable kids, their families and their communities safe from harm

By Jaydeep Das, people and culture head, international programs

Women and children walk away down street

“There’s no place on the planet where sexual exploitation and abuse isn’t an ever-present danger, and we all have to do what we can.” Jane Lute, United Nations’ under-secretary general, made this statement while speaking about the intensified efforts in improving response to sexual exploitation and abuse, through which aid, protection and justice are provided to the victims. She adds: all civil-society organizations should have efficient systems in place so survivors are not forced to relive their experience. These exploitative violations should stop with prudent and proactive policies and procedures.

Indeed, working in vulnerable communities around the world requires an open mind, an open heart and significant safeguarding measures. So, Children Believe has mapped out a plan to ensure children, families and community members we serve are safe, and we endeavour to keep improving that plan, ahead of industry standards.

How we’re keeping accountable so kids and people we walk alongside are safe

We’re intentional about being accountable. Why? How power translates and how values are lived out are at the heart of challenges among the world’s most vulnerable. A culture that tolerates compromised behaviour, lapses in child and/or adult safeguarding processes and poor accountability contributes to an unsafe environment where the vulnerable are susceptible to exploitation.

We’re committed to protect everyone who comes in contact with us through our operations by keeping safeguarding central to our programmatic interventions, our policies and processes.

How we’re ensuring kids, families and communities we help are not exploited

Our safeguarding policies note ways to prevent harm and support survivors towards healing and accessing justice 24-7 (anytime, anywhere) with zero-tolerance to any violation.

In fact, these safeguarding policies are at the heart of everything our organization does. So, it’s easier to cultivate a culture of care and respect where everybody — absolutely everybody — feels safe.

Research shows approximately half of all discrimination, harassment and positional abuse victims suffer after sharing their stories. Survivors are more likely to face career, mental and/or physical health challenges, than staff whom have been harassed but chose not to report it. Obviously, something is not working.

So we ensure people are safe and protected to express their concerns, without fear, in an inclusive, diverse and equitable culture. We’ve instituted a robust integrated reporting mechanism to hear the voices of survivors or witnesses without any bias using traditional and a web-based form to speak up anonymously.

But, a policy is only as good as the team responsible for bringing it to life. So, we also conduct interactive safeguarding workshops and training in our offices, covering critical aspects of these policies and clarifying our collective responsibilities in making our operational areas safe. Beyond the initial safeguarding audit, we’re assessing, identifying and working on incorporating effective safeguarding measures in all our functional processes.

Our goals to keep the people we help stay safe will continue to evolve

In our pursuit of excellence in being careful stewards, we acknowledge the challenges and are committed to improve our processes as we journey further. We’re thankful to our donors and supporters for walking with us to make positive change for the children and vulnerable groups we help.

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ABOUT CHILDREN BELIEVE (formerly Christian Children's Fund of Canada):

Children Believe works globally to empower children to dream fearlessly, stand up for what they believe in — and be heard. For 60 years, we’ve brought together brave young dreamers, caring supporters and partners, and unabashed idealists. Together, we’re driven by a common belief: creating access to education — inside and outside of classrooms — is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world.

About ChildFund Alliance:

A member of ChildFund Alliance, Children Believe is part of a global network of 12 child-focused development organizations working to create opportunities for children and youth, their families and communities. ChildFund helps nearly 23-million children and their families in more than 70 countries overcome poverty and underlying conditions that prevent children from achieving their full potential. We work to end violence against children; provide expertise in emergencies and disasters to ease the harmful impact on children and their communities; and engage children and youth to create lasting change and elevate their voices in decisions that affect their lives.

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